The crisis in EU-Russia relations over Ukraine has made the two players interested in the Southern Gas Corridor once again.
The construction of the second branch of the Baku–Tbilisi–Erzurum gas pipeline began on 20 September in Baku.
Western firms are withdrawing from projects linked to the Southern Corridor probably due to the declining commercial attractiveness of these projects.
On 26 June the Austrian holding, OMV announced that the consortium operating in Shah Deniz, the largest gas field in Azerbaijan, had not selected the Nabucco West project as its route for Azerbaijani gas to Europe. Despite there being no official information from Azerbaijan, it appears that the preferred route for gas supplies to Europe will be via the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP).
The Southern Gas Corridor is a European Commission initiative with the aim of facilitating the diversification of the routes and sources of gas imported into Europe in the hope of reducing the EU’s dependence on Russia. Although the Southern Gas Corridor – alongside the EU’s flagship Nabucco project, which constitutes a part of the Corridor – was originally conceived as a means of furthering the interests of the West (officially the EU but in practice also the US), the implementation of the project has become possible almost exclusively thanks to measures taken by Azerbaijan and Turkey.
Although the launch of the corridor on the basis of Azeri gas is presently a near-certainty, it has not yet been established via which route nor under what conditions the gas will be transmitted into Europe. In practice, Azerbaijan will decide the shape and route of the corridor, on the basis of their own calculations.