Europe’s energy supplies have received a much-needed boost today as one of the world’s most complex energy projects begins full operations. The newly-completed Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) pipeline system is now transporting natural gas from beneath the Caspian Sea offshore Azerbaijan to European customers thousands of miles away.
The mammoth engineering milestone involved seven national governments, 11 different companies and more than 30,000 people. The result is a 3,500-kilometre pipeline system that climbs over mountains, crawls under seas and stretches the entire width of Turkey – opening up a new energy supply route to the European Union.
The Shah Deniz field offshore Azerbaijan is the SGC starting point and is expected to supply at plateau 16 billion cubic metres of gas to markets in the region and Europe.
Gary Jones, bp’s regional president for Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, said: “The start of gas deliveries to Europe from Azerbaijan is the culmination of years of work by many thousands of people from all the countries involved – the workforce, communities, companies, the government of Azerbaijan and other regional and international governments, and SOCAR and our partners. This is a truly world-class project in all respects.
“We are very proud of what we have achieved together. Notwithstanding the complexity of all aspects of the project – engineering, technical, geographical and geopolitical – it has been delivered safely, on schedule and under budget. This is an historic milestone, with Azerbaijan and Europe now connected with a direct, safe and reliable energy link, that again demonstrates that together we can deliver the most complex mega-scale projects successfully.”
Gordon Birrell, executive vice president of production & operations
Map of the Southern Gas Corridor project
As a former head of bp’s Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey (AGT) business, during a seminal phase of the SGC’s history, Gordon Birrell’s personal connections to the project run deep:
“This achievement is a reminder of the incredible talent that exists in our industry and a striking example of the power of partnerships and integration. We are grateful to our teams, our partners and the national governments that helped to realize this complex project.”