White Stream — An Essential Component of the Southern Gas Corridor
The White Stream natural gas pipeline is new cross-Black Sea infrastructure. It will transport Turkmen gas via the second string of the Trans-Caspian Pipeline (TCP) directly to Romania and other EU Member States. That gas would make landfall across the Caspian Sea in Azerbaijan, be transmitted to Georgia’s Black Sea coast through the expanded South Caucasus Pipeline (SCP) in Georgia, enter the undersea White Stream pipeline and be received in the EU at Romania’s terminal at Constanta. From there, the gas can flow through existing infrastructure in Ukraine, Slovakia and Czechia to Central and Northern European countries.
Some volumes can also feed new infrastructure to be implemented (Bulgaria-Romania-Hungary-Austria pipeline, BRUA). After branching-off near Vale (Georgia) from the expanded SCP, White Stream will reach the Compressor Station on the Georgia Black Sea coast (terrestrial part, 125 kilometres) near Supsa.
Such an arrangement allows fast-track development by maximising the use of already existing (or under construction) pipeline infrastructure: Turkmenistan’s East-West Pipeline (EWP), SCP, TCP, Trans-Balkan Pipelin (TBP) and Bratstvo systems via Ukraine in addition to BRUA.
Using this infrastructure already existing or near completion, creates large-scale import opportunities with an unprecedentedly beneficial cost/benefit ratio and significant impact on prices EU-wide. This route is the lowest-cost option for Turkmen gas to reach markets in Central and Northern European countries.
An important factor for the EU market, as well as for governments in the Caspian region and potential upstream investors, is the security and continuity of transit. The coordinated development of TANAP and White Stream, both in conjunction with TCP, will offer producers and shippers security of export. These projects are therefore mutually reinforcing and the important result is not only 60+ bcm/y of additional capacity, but also a reduction of perceived transportation risks.
These internally highly diversified routings within the Southern Gas Corridor significantly reduce perceived risk associated with the Caspian gas for the whole system, including the first string of TCP, which will bring Turkmen gas to markets via Turkey (TANAP plus TAP).
White Stream’s Geographic Place in the Southern Gas Corridor
White Stream’s Programmatic Place in the Southern Gas Corridor
- White Stream, in synergy with the project Trans-Caspian Pipeline Phase 2, will improve market integration in the European Union and the Energy Community.
- It will support the implementation of a part of the Programme EU4Energy in the Eastern Partnership countries.
- White Stream together with TCP II satisfies major components of EU energy policy:
- It contributes to market integration. It does this by facilitating delivery of natural gas from the Caspian Basin and Central Asia via Azerbaijan and Georgia, then crossing the Black Sea to South East Europe.
- It integrates South East Europe further with Western and Central EU markets. It does this directly and also by including commercial and/or physical reverse-flow capacity in the Trans-Balkan Pipeline (TBP) system. Physical reverse-flow capacity is especially useful in emergency situations.
- The White Stream, in combination with TCP’s second phase, thus:
- Ensures diversification of resources and routes.
- Brings new sources of natural gas to the EU markets.
- Enhances Europe’s security of energy supply through the physical reverse-flow option mentioned in connection with the TBP.
- Increases gas penetration of non-mature markets in South East Europe where gas will displace polluting fuels.
- Increases competition amongst gas sources and improves liquidity in gas markets to the benefit of all consumers.
According to adopted EU documents, at least 10 to 20 per cent of the EU gas demand is to be met by deliveries through the Southern Gas Corridor in the near future. This corresponds to a minimum of 45 to 90 billion cubic metres per year (bcm/y). Azerbaijan will be capable to supply 10 bcm/y to Europe starting in late 2020. Turkmen gas could flow to the West at the same time.
With the development of a Caspian gas supply scheme within the Connecting Europe Facility, White Stream becomes an essential component of key Southern Gas Corridor pipeline chains forming the Projects of Common Interest of the EU. It looks to transport gas supplies from Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan, possibly in future also Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
Both components of the bundle start from Turkmenistan using the TCP, link into the expanded South Caucasus Pipeline (SCP), then split into two trunks that will provide two entry points into the EU energy market. White Stream One of these entry points is via the system comprising the Trans-Anatolian Gas Pipeline (TANAP) across Turkey plus the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) running Greece-Albania-Italy under the Adriatic Sea. The other is via the White Stream pipeline.