A key part of ensuring secure and affordable supplies of energy to Europeans involves diversifying supply routes. This includes identifying and building new routes that decrease the dependence of EU countries on a single supplier of natural gas and other energy resources.
Opening up the Southern Gas Corridor
Many countries in Central and South East Europe are dependent on a single supplier for most or all of their natural gas. To help these countries diversify their supplies, the Southern Gas Corridor aims to expand infrastructure that can bring gas to the EU from the Caspian Basin, Central Asia, the Middle East, and the Eastern Mediterranean Basin.
Initially, approximately 10 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas will flow along this route when it opens in 2019-2020. Given the potential supplies from the Caspian Region, the Middle East and the East Mediterranean, however, the EU aims to increase this to 80 to 100 bcm of gas per year in the future.
EU actions for expanding the Southern Gas Corridor include:
- keeping the infrastructure projects needed for the Corridor on the EU's list of Projects of Common Interest. These are projects which can benefit from streamlined permitting process, receive preferential regulatory treatment, and are eligible to apply for EU funding from the Connecting Europe Facility
- cooperating closely with gas suppliers in the region including Azerbaijan, Iraq and Turkmenistan
- cooperating closely with transit countries including Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey
- negotiating with Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan on a Trans-Caspian pipeline to transport gas across the Caspian Sea.
Developing the Mediterranean hub
The EU wants to create a Mediterranean gas hub in the South of Europe to help diversify its energy suppliers and routes. To this end, the EU is engaged in an active energy dialogue at political level with North African and Eastern Mediterranean partners.
Taking into account the huge potential of Algeria, both for conventional and unconventional gas resources, as well as the new gas resources in the East Mediterranean and the associated infrastructure development plans, the Mediterranean area can act as a key source and route for supplying gas to the EU.
Liquefied natural gas (LNG) imported to Europe through LNG terminals is a source of diversification that contributes to competition in the gas market and security of supply.
New LNG supplies from North America, Australia, Qatar, and East Africa are likely to increase the size of the global LNG market, and some of these volumes should reach the European market.
Considering that most of the existing capacity is located in Western Europe, and that internal bottlenecks exist from the Atlantic coast to the East, the development of a few new regasification units in Eastern Europe would be justified. This is the case in the Baltics and in South-East Europe, where LNG regasification units have been identified as Projects of Common Interest under the Regulation on the guidelines for trans-European energy infrastructure.