RIGA, May 22. /TASS/. EU summit supports setting up a southern natural gas corridor linking gas deposits of the Caspian Sea area to EU member-states in bypass of Russia and start of reversed-flow deliveries of gas to Ukraine from Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, the participants said in a final statement on Friday.
"Participants emphasize the need for well-functioning energy markets with a stable, transparent and investor-friendly regulatory framework, rule of law and a gradual liberalization of the market […]," the document said.
"They [participants] acknowledge the progress made on the energy infrastructure projects and interconnectivity, enhancements put in place since last summit, including opening natural gas reverse flow capacities to Ukraine from Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, the particular role played by Azerbaijan, as well as contribution by others, including Georgia, in the realization of the Southern Gas Corridor and the ongoing work on the expansion of the South Caucasus Pipeline, and the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline and the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline, the inauguration of the Iasi-Ungheni gas interconnector, and the preliminary work of Isaccea-Vulcanesti electricity interconnection between Romania and the Republic of Moldova," the summit said.
"Participants […] reaffirm their commitment to facilitate the development […] of strategic infrastructure, notably in relation to the Southern Gas Corridor," the statement said. "The summit participants also encourage and support the continuation of gas and electricity interconnections both inside the EU and between the EU and its Eastern European partners, including through standard Interconnection Agreements between Transmission System Operators."
The so-called Southern Gas Corridor is a system of already operational and projected pipelines that is expected to interconnect the Caspian area and the EU via the countries of the Caucasus in bypass of Russia upon completion of a major technological overhaul.
It includes, among other elements, the South Caucasus, the Trans-Anatolian pipeline and the Trans-Adriatic gas pipelines. Thus the corridor stretches across the territories of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, Greece, and Albania.
The authors of the concept regard the Shah Deniz offshore Caspian deposit as the main source of gas for the system but if the network is interconnected to the Trans-Caspian pipeline, and opportunity to pump the Turkmen gas along the corridor will appear, too.
The Southern Corridor surfaced as a replacement for the Nabucco project that was highly popular in the previous decade but had to be canceled because of a shortage of investments in it.