Macedonia has Azerbaijani Gas in its Sight

In Europe more and more countries are willing to reduce their dependence on Russia’s gas, and therefore are looking at the Southern Gas Corridor, which is to deliver Azerbaijani gas to the EU’s borders.

This is especially important for the Balkan countries, which express their interest in joining the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). And Macedonia is no exception.
Today, the prime minister of Macedonia, Nikola Gruevski said Skopje focuses on three new gas sources, and TAP is one of them.

Macedonia needs new gas sources for two reasons.

The first reason is the diversification of energy supplies, as Russian gas is sold there at relatively high prices. Macedonia expects that the diversification of supply will also contribute to setting competitive prices.

The second reason is the growing needs of the country, which intends to expand the network of its gas-fired plants. It is clear that Skopje is not going to meet its growing needs with the Russian gas only.

Turkish Stream is not among the three projects that have been declared as priority for Macedonia. The country will consider joining this project only if Brussels and Moscow reach agreements. However, there isn’t even a sign of such agreements for the present.

Macedonia is not expected to face any problems in joining TAP. Either the country can agree with Greece and construct a pipeline from there (this option was announced by Macedonian prime minister), or join the supposed Ionian-Adriatic Pipeline (IAP) project that envisages laying a pipeline in West Balkans.

The project involves almost all states in the Balkan peninsula- Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Montenegro and Albania- therefore Macedonia’s joining this project is quite natural.
So, the implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor project in general and in particular, the construction of TAP pipeline will allow not only provide the South-Eastern Europe with alternative Azerbaijani gas, but also to create a large ramified network of gas pipelines and developed infrastructure in the region.

TAP is meant to transport gas from the Caspian region via Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea to southern Italy and further to Western Europe. The pipeline’s total length is about 870 kilometers.
The construction of the pipeline is expected to start in 2016. TAP’s initial capacity will be 10 billion cubic meters per year, expandable to 20 billion cubic meters per year.

TAP's shareholders are: BP (20 percent), SOCAR (20 percent), Statoil (20 percent), Fluxys (19 percent), Enagas (16 percent), and Axpo (5 percent).

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