Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Azerbaijani President İlham Aliyev on Tuesday inaugurated the Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) project in central Turkey, the Hürriyet Daily News reported.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı attended the ceremony to launch the project, which will play a key role in maintaining the energy security of Europe. The opening ceremony also hosted heads of state, ministers, executives of energy companies and senior bureaucrats from shareholder countries.
“This project is a product of a close friendship between Turkey and Azerbaijan. Transit countries have also played a key role. With this project, gas from Azerbaijan will be carried to Europe for the first time,” Erdoğan said, adding that close cooperation between Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia resulted in the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline in the past.
TANAP is important not only for maintaining energy security, but also for improving welfare in the countries the pipeline runs through, Erdoğan said.
He added that the project would make a great contribution to peace and stability in the region, thanking the United States and the European Union for their support for the project.
“We are moving one step closer to becoming an energy hub with this project,” the Turkish president also said.
The 1,850-kilometer TANAP project will transport natural gas produced in Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz-2 gas field in the Caspian Sea and in other fields south of the Caspian, first to Turkey and then to Europe.
Azerbaijan’s SOCAR has a 51 percent stake in the project, Turkey’s BOTAŞ has 30 percent, BP has 12 percent and SOCAR Turkey has 7 percent.
TANAP will run from the Turkish border with Georgia, beginning in the Turkish village of Türkgözü in Ardahan, through 20 provinces including Kars, Erzurum, Erzincan, Bayburt, Gümüşhane, Giresun, Sivas, Yozgat, Kırşehir, Kırıkkale, Ankara, Eskişehir, Bilecik, Kütahya, Bursa, Balıkesir, Çanakkale, Tekirdağ and Edirne until it ends at the Greek border in the İpsala district of Edirne.
The pipeline, with an investment of around $8.5 billion, will deliver 6 billion cubic meters of gas from Azerbaijan to Turkey and 10 billion to Europe per year. The European part of the project is expected to become operational in 2020.