On Tuesday, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev opened the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC), a project intended as an alternative to the South Stream and Turkish Stream, which will supply the EU with 10 billion cubic meters of gas.
During the opening ceremony at the Sangachal Terminal, Aliyev turned the key, giving a symbolic beginning to the pumping of gas into the pipe, Interfax reports.
The €40 billion EU-approved project will pump gas originating in the Shah Deniz gas field in the Caspian Sea to Turkey and subsequently to countries in southern Europe.
Gas will move through Azerbaijan and Georgia via the South Caucasus Pipeline. Further on, it will enter the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP), which passes through Georgia and Turkey, and subsequently it will pass through Greece and Albania to Italy via the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP).
The actual launch of TANAP, the first section of the chain of pipelines, will take place on June 12. Alongside Aliyev, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be present at the opening ceremony.
From 2020, 6 billion cubic meters of fuel will be sent into Turkey.
Germany will invest €1.2 billion in the development of the SGC, the German government announced in March. The money will come out of the budget of the state program to support projects of high priority to the country, under guarantee from the Azerbaijani government.
Gas shipments from Azerbaijan “will be a significant contribution to ensuring Europe and Germany’s energy security,” the German Finance Minister explained.
In addition, Berlin may allocate another €500 million by way of export guarantees for financing shipments of the German equipment needed for the construction.
In October, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development allocated the same amount to the TANAP project. In February, another €1.5 billion was provided by the European Investment Bank, for which the investment in the SGC was a historical record.
The US supports the construction of the SGC, official State Department representative Sandra Oudkirk said on Tuesday.
“We congratulate all countries and companies that are active in this project. The realization of the SGC will help to establish stability in the region and diversity in the supply of energy resources,” Oudkirk said in Baku on Tuesday at the SGC launching ceremony.