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11 December 2014, 18:40 (GMT+04:00)

Turkey has once again voiced its commitment to the regional cooperation, namely its energy ties with Azerbaijan, noting that accomplishment of the Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline project is among its main priorities.

Russian gas supplies to Turkey are not an alternative to Azerbaijani gas to be transported through the TANAP, Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Taner Yildiz said on December 11.

He added that EU countries have repeatedly expressed their concern over the construction of a new gas pipeline from Russia to Turkey and its possible affects on the implementation of the TANAP project. “But this will not affect the TANAP project,” Yildiz stressed.

Russia’s new plan after halting a $45 billion pipeline to Europe under the Black Sea will see Gazprom build a new pipeline to Turkey. The proposed pipeline between Russian and Turkey, augmenting the existing Blue Stream link, could carry 63 billion cubic meters a year, or more than 10 percent of European consumption. About 20 percent of it is expected to go to Turkey and the rest to Europe.

Turkey's top priority is TANAP implementation rather than Russia's last project proposal, said Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkish Foreign Minister a day earlier.

"Russia's offer is our main issue and we have already talked about it with my Georgian and Azerbaijani colleagues," he said. "We know the importance of TANAP for Georgia and Europe. We have already ordered the natural gas pipes. The project won’t be affected by falling oil prices and will be completed as planned earlier. We emphasize the importance of TANAP everywhere.”

Georgia’s Foreign Minister Beruchashvili also said that Georgia is happy to see that TANAP is taken seriously by Turkish officials.

"TANAP is really important for the region’s development. It is not just important for the region but also the whole world. We are working together for common benefits," Beruchashvili stated.

Turkey reassured Azerbaijan and Georgia that the Southern Gas Corridor remains a priority project. The remarks increased the confidence of all participants of the Southern Gas Corridor project designed to bring Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz gas to European market.

For sure Ankara will not refuse Moscow’s project. Turkey will support the project in case its economic viability is proven.

Moscow hopes that there will not be obstacles on Russian -Turkish pipeline project, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on December 11. “Each country chooses the highest priority projects for itself. But the Turkish leadership in the person of the president and the prime minister has confirmed a strong interest in developing cooperation with Russia in the energy sector,” he added.

“Now there is a question of working out the technical parameters, which are many, with "Gazprom" and energy ministries of the two countries,” Lukashevich said

However, the sales market, rather than funds and technical implementation, is the biggest obstacle for Russian gas supplies. Currently, Europe does not seem so eager to buy the Russian gas.

TANAP is designed for real volumes of gas from Azerbaijan and the entire Southern Gas Corridor route has already been calculated. Moreover, all volumes of Azerbaijani gas have already been reserved and distributed among the European buyers.

The project, developed by SOCAR in collaboration with Turkish Botas and the energy company TPAO, will deliver Shah Deniz gas to the Turkish-Greek border from eastern Turkey. This gas pipeline project is recognized as a step towards ensuring the energy security of the European countries, as well as Turkey.

TANAP construction is due to be completed in 2018 and TAP in 2020 with first gas deliveries to Europe planned in the same year. The cost of the work on all four elements of the Southern Gas Corridor is estimated at almost $48 billion, according to the preliminary data.

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