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The foundation was laid for the construction of the historical project, which will deliver natural gas from the Shah Deniz 2 gas field of Azerbaijan to Europe after crossing 20 cities of Turkey through 1,850 kilometers of pipeline. In the ceremony that took place at Selim district of Kars, the Presidents of Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia laid the first segment of the pipeline that will travel between Shah Deniz and Europe to ground.

The Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline Project, which will transform Turkey into the energy passageway of Europe, has started off. Following the agreement signed in June 2012, the project deemed the “Silk Road of Energy” has reached the foundation-laying phase, and the construction officially took off with the ceremony that was attended by three Presidents.

Selim district of Kars hosted a ceremony that made history. Politicians and esteemed business leaders gathered in Kars for this giant project that resounded through the energy market. TANAP, which constitutes the perfect embodiment of the “One Nation Two States” ideal of the late President of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev, was inaugurated by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the President of Turkey; İlham Aliyev, the President of Azerbaijan, and Giorgi Margvelashvili, the President of Georgia.

Welcoming everyone at the ceremony, Rovnag Abdullayev, President of SOCAR, stated that at SOCAR, they had taken upon themselves the goal of augmenting the existing brotherly relationship between Azerbaijan and Turkey in the field of economy and supporting that relationship through strategic investments with direct orders from President Ilham Aliyev. Drawing attention to the fact that TANAP developed from an idea into a solid project backed by inter-state agreements in an unbelievable time span of 6 months, Abdullayev thanked all who believed in and supported the project.

Aliyev: The Shah Deniz is the new gas basin

Attending the ceremony, Azerbaijani President Aliyev stated that the real partners of TANAP are the people of Azerbaijan and Turkey, emphasizing that the project was formed rapidly but acquired enormous prestige in a short period of time. Aliyev continued: “Most of Azerbaijani gas will go to Europe and our neighboring countries. This is a project that will create a new partnership in Eurasia. It has already created an alliance in Eurasia. Our collaboration and partnership with countries of different histories and cultures show our good faith. The Azerbaijani gas field of Shah Deniz will be the new gas basin for Europe.”

“TANAP has a distinct place”

Delivering a speech at the ceremony, President Erdogan reminded that Turkey was getting ready to attain its goals for the year 2023. “Our aim is to become one of the top ten economies of the world with exports worth 500 billion dollars, 2 trillion dollars of national income and a single-digit unemployment rate,” said Mr. Erdogan. He added that they were planning to turn Turkey into an energy distribution hub for the region.

Mr. Erdogan continued:

“Ceyhan has now become one of the most crucial oil distribution centers of the world. Once the situation in Iraq and Syria goes back to normal, the position of Ceyhan will only strengthen with its increased capacity. Likewise, we have natural gas and oil pipeline projects underway with various other countries. Among all these projects, TANAP stands out in terms of its route and its goals. This project is not an alternative to any other project. When we complete all stages of this very unique project called the Southern Gas Corridor, we will have formed a strong bond between Europe and the Caspian region. Not only Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, but the whole Eurasia region needs this project. Aside from its economic function, its contribution to peace will surely attract much attention and praise. With its 1,850 km length and 10 billion dollars of cost, TANAP is definitely worthy of this mission. We hope that the gas flow will commence at the projected date of 2018 at an initial 16 billion cubic meters and then gradually increase to 22 billion cubic meters before finally reaching 31 billion cubic meters.

I hope TANAP will bring luck and prosperity to all the 20 cities it will pass through. We hope that this 1,850-km long pipeline, going from the very East to the very West of our country, passing through 20 cities, 67 districts and 600 villages, will be completed and commissioned as soon as possible.”

Following his speech, Mr. Erdogan invited the Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and the Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili to the stage. The three presidents pressed the button that lowered the pipeline into the ground together, accompanied by wishes of “good luck and prosperity” and applause from the crowd.

“Turkey will become an energy bridge”

One of the most important energy investments by SOCAR Turkey, TANAP will start from the Turkgozu village of Ardahan’s Posof district at the Georgian border and will travel through 20 cities, namely Ardahan, Kars, Erzurum, Erzincan, Bayburt, Gumushane, Giresun, Sivas, Yozgat, Kirsehir, Kirikkale, Ankara, Eskisehir, Bilecik, Kutahya, Bursa, Balikesir, Canakkale, Tekirdag, Edirne – to reach Edirne’s Ipsala district at the Greek border. There, it will link to the TAP Natural Gas Pipeline that will deliver gas to the EU. Within the framework of the project, there will be two outlets within the borders of Turkey, one in Eskisehir and the other in Thrace, for connection with the national natural gas network. The TANAP Natural Gas Pipeline system will comprise a main line of 1,850 km in total length, with 19 km being under the Sea of Marmara.

First gas to flow in 2018

The first gas flow through TANAP will take place in 2018. The transport capacity is planned to be 16 billion cubic meters per year initially but will increase gradually, first to 24 billion cubic meters and then to 31 billion cubic meters. TANAP will be the natural gas pipeline project with the greatest pipe length and diameter so far to be constructed within the borders of Turkey.