With the expansion capacity of the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) Project, Azerbaijan will correspondingly increase its gas exports to Türkiye to 10.2 billion cubic meters (bcm) per year, Azerbaijan's Ambassador to Türkiye, Rashad Mammadov, told Anadolu Agency in an exclusive interview.
According to the Natural Gas Market 2022 Sector Report of Türkiye's Energy Market Regulatory Authority, out of Türkiye's total imports of approximately 54.6 bcm of gas last year, Azerbaijan exported 8.7 billion cubic meters. This year, this capacity increased by 1.5 bcm to 10.2 bcm, representing a 17% annual rise.
Since starting operations on June 12, 2018, 46 bcm of gas have been transported through TANAP, of which 22 bcm were destined for Türkiye and 24 bcm for Europe, Mammadov explained.
He argued that the plan to double the transmission capacity of TANAP from its current 16 bcm to 32.2 bcm in the coming years, 10.2 bcm of which will be designated for Türkiye and 12 bcm for Europe, will make a significant contribution to Türkiye's transformation into a natural gas hub.
The expansion has been realized by integrating TANAP, the pipeline that carries Caspian Sea gas from Azerbaijan to Türkiye and onto Europe, with the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum Natural Gas Pipeline, Mammadov explained, while allowing an improvement in both Türkiye's and Europe’s energy security.
Azerbaijan has reached markets as far as Italy through the gas system integration of the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum pipeline, TANAP and the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) at a cost of $40 billion.
"TANAP is one of the largest and most important steps in the successful cooperation between Türkiye and Azerbaijan in the energy field. It is one of the most strategic steps taken thus far to increase the diversity of natural gas resources in Europe and Türkiye, as well as allowing Türkiye to become an energy corridor. Türkiye-Azerbaijan energy cooperation, which began under the founding leader, Haydar Aliyev, has taken on a new dimension as a result of this initiative."
TANAP brings Türkiye to level of 'energy hub'
According to Mammadov, the doubling of the pipeline's expansion to 32 bcm will enhance the role of Azerbaijan as a major gas exporter to Europe and that of Türkiye as an energy corridor between east and west, raising both countries' political clout.
Türkiye has advanced to the level of "energy hub" with the TANAP project and has played a critical role in the European Union's energy security, he said.
"As a result, both nations and Europe profited from this collaboration. Developments in the international arena further increased the importance of TANAP," he added.
$20 billion investment from SOCAR in energy sector in Türkiye
As a testament to the importance Azerbaijan holds for Türkiye's energy sector, the investments of its state oil company, SOCAR, total $20 billion.
"SOCAR is one of the suppliers of oil, gas and petroleum products in Türkiye and has extensive cooperation with Turkish companies, TPAO (the Turkish Petroleum Corporation) and BOTAS (the Turkish Petroleum Pipeline Corporation)," he said.
TPAO’s interest in upstream projects in Azerbaijan extends to the Afak-Asiman and Karabakh projects for hydrocarbon exploration and production.
Process ongoing for construction of Igdir-Nahcivan natural gas pipeline.
Mammadov confirmed plans for the construction of a natural gas pipeline between Igdir and Azerbaijan's Nakhchivan region.
"The necessary steps are being taken to establish the foundations of this project, which were laid with the memorandum of understanding signed in 2020 and will have a gas transport volume of 500 million cubic meters per year."