The Southern Gas Corridor project demonstrates that the creation of integrated energy infrastructure linking Caspian resources to European consumers is technically possible, economically viable, and politically beneficial for all parties involved, Maros Sefcovic, vice-president of the European Commission for Energy Union said during the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) groundbreaking ceremony in Thessaloniki, Greece on May 17.
He called the realization of the Southern Gas Corridor a turning point.
"Today is a historic day. The Southern Gas Corridor is the biggest construction project of our time," Sefcovic said, adding that TAP is an important part of this project.
He stressed that the phase which starts today should be concluded fairly soon.
"By 2020 we expect to see gas flowing into Europe. This will be the conclusion but not the end. Once the route and the overall framework are tested, it will be easier to expand the Southern Gas Corridor beyond the initial volumes of 10 billion cubic meters a year," Sefcovic said.
He also confirmed the interest of the European Commission in scaling-up the Southern Gas Corridor swiftly, including with more gas originating from the Caspian and possibly Central Asia region.
TAP, which is the part of the Southern Gas Corridor project, envisages transportation of gas from the Stage 2 of development of Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz gas and condensate field to the EU countries.
The 870-kilometer TAP will be connected to the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) on the Turkish-Greek border, run through Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea, before coming ashore in Italy's south.
TAP's shareholding is comprised of BP (20 percent), SOCAR (20 percent), Snam S.p.A. (20 percent), Fluxys (19 percent), Enagás (16 percent) and Axpo (5 percent).
World media monitoring