TAP gains more supporters

By: Aynur Karimova

The Trans-Adriatic Pipeline designed to bring Azerbaijani gas to Europe is gaining more supporters in the Old Continent.

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic was next to his Macedonian counterpart Nikola Gruevski to state his country’s interest to join U.S.-backed TAP, a part of the Southern Gas Corridor initiated by Azerbaijan.

The Balkan states one after another are expressing their interest in the TAP to reduce their dependence on Russian ‘blue fuel’ and to diversify energy supply.

While Macedonia names TAP as one of the three new gas sources, Serbia regards it as a path towards its EU membership aspirations.

Serbia, which has already expressed interest in the Moscow-backed pipeline project, “is not balancing or choosing sides. The country’s main goal is the European Union and it is firm on its EU path,” Vucic noted in an interview to Associated Press published on May 28.

Belgrade has a number of other reasons for joining TAP. One of them is indeed the government’s interest in diversifying energy supply sources and ensuring its energy security.

“Regarding energy safety, we are ready to diversify the sources of gas for Serbia, which is very important for our American friends as well,” said Vucic.

The main reason standing behind Belgrade’s wish to join TAP is to decrease its dependence on Russian gas and to have a supply from more than one player on the market.

“When the Russians stop sending gas through Ukraine in 2019, where will we get it from, may I ask?” Vucic said in his new statement, clarifying his government’s energy policy.

TAP, which involves almost all Balkan countries — Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Montenegro and Albania, is widely propagated by the U.S.

During a meeting with the Greek leadership, the U.S. State Department Special Envoy for Energy Affairs Amos Hochstein urged the Greek side to abandon the Turkish Stream project in favor of TAP.

TAP is meant to transport gas from the Caspian region via Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea to southern Italy and further to Western Europe. The pipeline’s total length is about 870 kilometers.

The construction of the pipeline is expected to start in 2016. TAP’s initial capacity will be 10 billion cubic meters per year, expandable to 20 billion cubic meters per year.

The construction of TAP will not only provide European countries with Azerbaijani gas, but also pave the way for establishing a significant gas pipeline and infrastructure network in the region.

SOURCE: Azer News