Statistical Review of World Energy” and International Energy Agency’s “Key World Energy Statistics” reports, almost two-third of global hydrocarbon reserves are located in the vicinity of the EU and Turkey, Christian Berger, Head of EU Delegation to Turkey and Turkmenistan, said in his interview to Caspian Energy journal.
According to him, the EU is fully committed to shift its economy towards a low carbon economy by 2050: ‘It means that more efficient, cleaner and renewable sources will be prioritized and promoted during this transition period. Gas, due its advantages as the least polluting and safest hydrocarbon, could nevertheless play a key role in this transition period. In the meantime, according to the EU’s recent projections, the share of natural gas in total primary consumption is expected to remain stagnant or slightly increase. Therefore, the EU will need more gas mostly to replace its domestic production, which is forecasted to gradually decline in the decades to come. In short, the EU will be dependent on more imported gas and significant amount of this gas is planned to come through the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC). With its dynamic economy, important regional role and its contribution to the EU's foreign policy and energy security, Turkey is also a key partner for the enhancement of the EU's security of energy supply through the development of the SGC. The EU and Turkey need to continue to cooperate in the development of the SGC, therefore, with a view to establishing a stable international legal framework that would govern gas supply outside of the EU territory.’
He said that EU-Turkmenistan consultations on energy cooperation within the bilateral Memorandum of Understanding on Energy are ongoing: ‘A ministerial EU-Azerbaijan-Turkey-Turkmenistan meeting in 2015 adopted a Declaration on the cooperation in the energy field, establishing a Working Group, the membership of which was later expanded to Georgia. The EU continues working with Turkmenistan and its objective to diversify the gas export routes, notably to the EU, which would allow expanding the Southern Gas Corridor, with the first gas to arrive in the EU as of 2020.’
‘Being the flagship project of the SGC, TANAP remains a political priority for Turkey, as expressed by public officials, and its completion would indeed introduce a completely new delivery route and gas source to the European Union. The construction of the first phase is expected to be completed before the end of 2017, with the current completion level standing at 95%. According to the current progress and the foreseen schedule, the commissioning of the first phase which will deliver gas to the Turkish market, is set to be launched in the first quarter of 2018 (late February or March) and first gas deliveries to Turkey are expected to arrive in June 2018. However, the interconnector with TAP is currently scheduled for a year later in June 2019, considering the delay in the TAP project. Naturally this delay would have an impact, particularly on South Eastern European gas markets’, he said.