AFP: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared open the $8bn and 1,850-km Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) that connects with an extension of the 700-km South Caucasus Pipeline (SCP) to bring supplies of gas from Azerbaijan to Turkey via Georgia.

Once TANAP is connected to the currently under construction 878-km Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP)—to run from Greece to Albania and then onwards to Italy via an undersea route—the trio of pipelines will make up the TurkStream pipeline (sometimes referred to as Turkish Stream), forks of which will by late 2019 send gas to Turkey and Bulgaria via Black Sea routes, according to plans. The aim is to further distribute TurkStream gas that arrives in the Bulgarian gas hub in Varna to Southern and Central European markets.

Erdogan said at the pipeline opening ceremony that TANAP gas deliveries to Greece would begin in June 2019. “We have opened our natural gas pipeline and [gas supplies] are now being sent to it. May it go well,” said Erdogan, while standing next to Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev. “We are moving one step closer to becoming an energy hub with this project,” he added.

Aliyev praised the US, UK and EU for backing the TANAP project and commended “strong regional cooperation between Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Georgia” in implementing it. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akinci also attended the launch.