Gas from Turkmenistan will transit the Caspian Sea in two phases. The idea to split the TCP volumes in Georgia is called the “two entry-point approach”, because it provides for Turkmen gas to enter EU markets at two different points. It was developed in order to solve the issue of volumes along with problems of transit risk.
It was developed in 2008, when the EU and European Commission made the White Stream pipeline a priority project and began to co-finance the requisite studies for its realization. The two entry-point approach represents route diversification within the Southern Gas Corridor. It was intended to provide for a mutually reinforcing and multiplier effect of two complementary routes, at the time Nabucco and White Stream. It was countered in 2009 by the controversial proposal that the Nabucco and South Stream pipelines were mutually complementary. In the end, neither Nabucco nor South Stream was realized.
The plan for two entry points into the EU for Caspian gas represents a pragmatic and beneficial diversification within the Southern Gas Corridor. The final report on implementation of the Caspian Development Corporation (CDC) considered a Black Sea crossing amongst its final possibilities, but it did not analyse the synergy created by the concurrent development of more than one route.
- Phase 1, the TCP’s first string, will be timed to coincide with the opening of the Trans-Anatolian Gas Pipeline (TANAP) and Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), through which combined system the gas will flow to Turkey and beyond. It will require only the construction of one string of the TCP at a cost of about USD800 million, for 16 bcm/y.
- The first string would be set in line with the commissioning of the TANAP from Turkey’s Georgian border to its Greek border. For the first string, the World Bank and European Commission have already conducted the environmental study. Turkmenistan completed in 2015 the East-West Pipeline (EWP) inside the country, which goes up to its Caspian Sea coast and is now filled with gas awaiting sale and export. The EWP is capable of transporting 30 bcm/y. Domestic pipeline connections within Turkmenistan guarantee continued security of supply.
- Gas transiting the TCP under the Caspian Sea will enter the South Caucasus Pipeline (SCP) already in service, then be conducted through the TANAP pipeline, which nearly completed and planned to enter into service in 2020, to the TAP, which runs across Greece and through Albania then under the Adriatic Sea to Italy.
- TAP will connect to the Italian natural gas grid and will be able to reach all Italian gas exit points for European destinations can be reached. These include: Austria and Central Europe, via Baumgarten and the Trans-Austria Gas Pipeline (also using swaps and reverse flow); Germany and France via Switzerland, via reverse flow of the Transitgas pipeline; Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium via reverse-flow capabilities that grid operators have agreed to introduce; Bulgaria, via reverse flow or the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB); and South East Europe, via the planned Ionian Adriatic Pipeline (IAP) connection possibilities to southern Croatia, Albania, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- Phase 2, the TCP’s second string, will feed Azerbaijan’s Sangachal terminal and the expanded SCP into the White Stream infrastructure crossing the Black Sea. It will be discharged in Romania into the Trans-Balkan Pipeline (TBP) for onward transit to Ukraine and, through the Bratstvo pipeline, through Ukraine to Slovakia and further on to Baumgarten. At the same time, some volumes will feed new infrastructure set for implementation such as the BRUA pipeline.