Serbia: Gas energy supply, Azerbaijan Gas is nice but unrealistic political story

28. April 2015. / News Serbia Energy

By the end of year, Serbia should agree with the European Commission upon the financing of the construction of a gas connector with Bulgaria, by which our country would gain access to the gas from Azerbaijan, the Minister of Mining and Energy, Aleksandar Antic, announced after the delegation of the Serbian Government returned from this country.

Minister Antic stated for the national RTS that, during the visit of the Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic and the Serbian delegation to Azerbaijan, many specific agreements were made, and one of the main topics was gas diversification. So as to have energy stability and security provided, Serbia must have multiple sources of supply, the Minister of Energy stated.

Azerbaijan is able to provide the necessary quantities of gas. Antic said that we were obliged to construct a gas connection with Bulgaria, which would have a connection with Greece, and to provide the supply of gas from Azerbaijan to Serbia through it.

However, Vojislav Vuletic, President of the Assembly of the Gas Association says for Sputnjik that by no means will the gas from Azerbaijan be able to reach Serbia.

„For now, it is envisaged that the gas from Azerbaijan should go into the gas pipeline of the Southeastern Europe, into the gas pipeline AGRI, into the gas pipeline TAP, into the gas pipeline TANAP, and these are all planned gas pipelines that could be built one day. At this, Azerbaijan with Shah-Deniz has the annual capacity of 10 billion, which means that the quantities of this gas are limited. Considering this data, how is it possible than for the entire Europe to be supplied with it?“, Vuletić asks.

“I think that these are nice political stories but that it will not happen“, Vuletic stresses. He says that, at this moment, it is only certain that the gas pipeline TAP, built by the “British Petrol“, will be constructed. However, Vuletic stresses that all the gas from Azerbaijan will be consumed within it. So as to connect Serbia to this gas pipeline, we should build a gas pipeline through Greece, Macedonia and Serbia, which requires enormous funds. Serbia is in the situation in which we cannot buy anything, let alone build a gas pipeline, Vuletic concludes in his interview for Sputnjik.

Aleksei Grivach, Deputy General Manager for Gas Issues of the National Energy Security Fund from Moscow has a similar opinion.

“The Azerbaijan gas, offered for deliveries to the European market, has already been allocated and sold under a long-term contract. There is no gas available there for an attempt to construct a kind of strong additional route for it to be made. Maybe the Serbs are just trying to show Russia that they are offended and ready to consider some exotic things, as the South Stream has failed. But I believe that you should rather look for the possibilities of the Turkish Stream branches going through the territory of Serbia to the center of Europe. This would compensate for the loss of the South Stream.“

Alexsei Grivach remarks that the potential suppliers of blue fuel for the Southern Gas Corridor are Turkmenistan, Iraq, Iran, and stresses that it is not very pragmatic to build an energy security strategy whilst relying on the categories “if“ and “might“.

“There is objective reality. The Southern Gas Corridor was first oriented towards the Iranian gas. The gas pipeline Nabuko was supposed to go along the Iranian-Turkish border from the center of Europe. It was conceived in mid-‘90s. Twenty years have gone by. For now, it is running in circle. And the only progress is the Azerbaijan gas, the project ’Shah-Deniz-2‘”, the Russian expert emphasizes.

The project Southern Gas Corridor amounting to 45 billion dollars envisages the creation of an integral energy transport network, which also includes the current South Caucasus pipeline, the future Trans-Anatolian and Trans-Adriatic pipelines. The length of the Gas Corridor will be 2.000 kilometers — from Baku to the south of Italy — through the territory of Georgia, Turkey, Greece and Albania. Through this corridor, planned deliveries of 16 billion cubic meters of gas per year will begin as of 2019, of which 6 billion will go to Turkey and 10 billion to Europe. It is possible that, in the future, main gas pipelines will also be built, these pipelines branching through Bulgaria and a number of Balkan countries.

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