LONDON

The Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline Project (TANAP) transports natural gas from Azerbaijan through Turkey into Europe, meeting Turkey’s growing demand as well as diversifying Europe’s supply, with June 12 marking its launch day.

Julian Popov, a fellow of the European Climate Foundation — an international NGO — told Anadolu Agency: “TANAP will diversify the gas supply and transit options of Turkey. This will reduce energy security risks for Turkey.”

Europe’s multi-billion Southern Gas Corridor, which connects Azerbaijan’s huge Shah Deniz II gas field to Europe, allows Azerbaijan to export gas to Europe for the first time.

Alexandrova said European dependence on Russian natural gas was a “problem”, as around “36% of blue fuel import to the EU comes from Russia.”

“With the commissioning of the entire infrastructure of the Southern Gas Corridor, there is an opportunity for direct supplies of natural gas from Asia – Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, through Turkey to Europe,” Alexandrova said.

“In my opinion, TANAP will not have a significant impact on the exploration and production processes on the offshore shelf of Cyprus, nor on the planned construction of the EastMed gas pipeline,” Alexandrova said.

Both experts were in agreement with regard to the economics of the Eastern Mediterranean’s natural gas sector.

“What can slow it down or even stop it is the economic feasibility,” Alexandrova said, adding: “There is already an abundance of natural gas in Europe, competition is high, supply will increase with direct supplies from Azerbaijan, and this leads to falling prices and makes investors hesitant towards similar projects, as it does not provide an attractive return on investment.”

“Extending gas infrastructure for heating brings big risks to turn that into stranded assets. Gas is turning into a niche business,” he said.

“According to most analysts in the energy sector, natural gas will remain an important energy source to ensure a smooth transition towards a low-emissions economy,” Alexandrova said.

“Renewable energy sources are becoming more efficient, the cost of wind and solar energy is declining, but this process is not fast enough to afford us to deprive ourselves in the next 15-25 years of the most affordable, relatively cheap and environmentally friendly fuel — natural gas.”

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