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.
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.
On 7 June in Istanbul, in the presence of the president of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliev and the prime minister of Turkey Recep Erdogan, a range of documents was signed concerning bilateral gas cooperation. This represents significant progress in the gas negotiations between both countries, which have lasted several years, and is a signal of their joint intent to activate gas export to the West via the Southern Corridor (including the ITGI and Nabucco pipelines), which the EU has lobbied for. At the same time, however, the general character of signed documents – memoranda and declarations – indicates a need for further talks aimed at specifying the final terms for the sale and transit of the gas from Azerbaijan.