Sefcovic said the EU will accelerate efforts to open the South Eastern European markets to the Southern Gas Corridor.
“These efforts are directly linked to the Energy Union framework, as one of its crucial objectives is that each member state in the region, including Greece, would have access to at least three different sources of gas,” he added.
“The approval of the TAP [Trans Adriatic Pipeline] agreement and the subsequent ground-breaking ceremony are an important step towards completing the Southern Gas Corridor,” Sefcovic noted. “The project has been identified by the European Commission as a Project of Common Interest and we closely monitor the progress of this project in the three countries involved [Greece, Albania and Italy].”
Sefcovic added that the recent second Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council ministerial meeting confirmed the determination of all participating countries and consortia to complete this key infrastructure project in time.
“Progress has been achieved on all the projects along the Southern Gas Corridor (Shah Deniz II field development, the South Caucasus Pipeline, Trans-Anatolian pipeline and the Trans-Adriatic pipeline) and it is expected that gas will flow by 2019 to Turkey and by 2020 to the EU,” he said.
Commenting on the choice of TAP over other projects, such as Nabucco and ITGI (Interconnector Turkey-Greece-Italy), Sefcovic noted that TAP is an important project for the European Union, recognized as one of the Projects of Common Interest as well as a key security of supply project under the European Energy Security Strategy.
TAP project has a strong political support, as well as backing from investors, which was lacking with regards to Nabucco and ITGI, he said.
Sefcovic went on to add that the European Commission remains committed to the close cooperation with the stakeholders and supports the timely implementation of this important project.
The Southern Gas Corridor is one of the priority energy projects for the EU. It envisages the transportation of 10 billion cubic meters of Azerbaijani gas from the Caspian region to the European countries through Georgia and Turkey.
At the initial stage, the gas to be produced as part of the Stage 2 of development of Azerbaijan`s Shah Deniz field is considered as the main source for the Southern Gas Corridor project. Other sources can also connect to this project at a later stage.
As part of the Stage 2 of the Shah Deniz development, the gas will be exported to Turkey and European markets by expanding the South Caucasus Pipeline and the construction of Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline and Trans-Adriatic Pipeline.