Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline

From Global Energy Monitor
This article is part of the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor.

Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline (TCP) (Russian: Транскаспийский газопровод) is a proposed pipeline which would transport gas from Turkmenistan to Azerbaijan across the Caspian sea via an undersea pipeline.[1] It is also known as the South Caucasus Pipeline Future Expansion (SCPFX), due to its connection with the South Caucasus Gas Pipeline.[2]


The pipeline would start near Balkanabat in Turkmenistan, run to Belek and Turkmenbashi on the western shore of Turkmenistan, and transport gas via an undersea pipeline to Sangachal Terminal on the eastern coast of Azerbaijan.[3][4]

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Project Details

  • Owner: W-Stream Caspian Ltd
  • Parent Company: Turkmengaz, Georgian Oil and Gas Corporation (GOGC)
  • Capacity: 16 billion cubic meters per year[2]
  • Length: 300 km / 186 miles[5][6]
  • Diameter: 36 inches[5]
  • Cost: $1,785,000,000[5]
  • Status: Proposed
  • Start Year: 2024[2]


The Trans-Caspian pipeline has been discussed since 1996, but has faced many obstacles which has made it seem far from realistic until recent years. Ever since the fall of the Soviet Union, the legal standing of Caspian Sea territory between the former Soviet states of Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan had been in question. In addition to legal ambiguities, there has been far too many countries surrounding the Caspian Sea involved in the project negotiations making the project difficult to get off the ground. Both Russia and Iran have also been historically opposed to such a pipeline project. However, the legal issues surrounding the Caspian Sea have been slowly resolved over time and Europe's desire to build the Southern Gas Corridor have revived the potential for the development of the TCP.[7]

In 2006, due to a dispute between Russia and Ukraine, gas deliveries from Russia ceased and Europe was faced with a short supply of gas. Interest in the project increased and slowly fizzled until the more recent Russian-Ukranian crisis sparked renewed interest in the TCP.[8]


The Trans-Caspian Pipeline is planned as part of the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) and has been identified as a project of Common Interest of the EU (PCI).[9][10] While the interest in the TCP project has been renewed since 2011, the political difficulties of the region may make the project non-viable.

In addition to the political difficulties surrounding the pipeline project, the TurkStream Gas Pipeline may bypass the need for the Trans-Caspian pipeline, possibly making the project irrelevant and commercially non-viable. Since the TurkStream Gas Pipeline would deliver Russian gas across under the Black Sea into Turkey and further west, the TCP might be considered unnecessary.[11] The European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas lists the projection its TYNDP as "TRA-A-561."[5]

According to news and analytical reports from 2019 and 2020, this project maintains its importance for the EU as it seeks to diversify its gas imports.[10][12] In January 2021, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan have signed a landmark agreement to jointly develop a long-disputed Caspian gas field (named "Kepez" or "Sardar", renamed in 2021 to "Dostlug/Dostluk").[13] This marks an important step towards further possible agreements which may include developments related to this pipeline.[14] According to some analysts, this agreement removes the last obstacle to the construction of the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline.[15]

Proposal for two pipelines

In May 2019 a pre-FEED (front end engineering and design) study began for a plan to build two Trans-Caspian pipelines.[16] The first pipeline would follow an expanded SGC route (South Caucasus Gas Pipeline, Trans-Anatolian Gas Pipeline (TANAP), and Trans-Adriatic Gas Pipeline (TAP)) to a final destination of Italy. The second pipeline would follow the White Stream route from the Georgian coast, entering the EU in Romania and reaching western Europe via existing pipelines in Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, Slovakia and onwards.[16]


The pipeline has been approved for inclusion on the European Commission's Projects of Common Interest list, meaning it is eligible to receive public funding from the EU. According to the European Commission, "TCP: Offshore pipeline in the Caspian Sea with a length of 300 km and an ultimate capacity of 32 bcm/a will branch-off at a connection with the East-West pipeline in Turkmenistan or, for the first stage, from a collection point of offshore Caspian production/treatment in Turkmenistan. It will feed into Sangachal terminal/SCP in Azerbaijan. SCPFX: Upgrade of the existing SCP pipeline system between Azerbaijan and Turkey via Georgia with throughput capacity upgrades of 5 bcm/y by 2022 (on top of the expanded capacities under SCPX project). SCPFX project currently envisages the addition of a compressor station in Azerbaijan and pipeline looping along the route of SCP." It has already been approved for €17,243,859 EUR ($19,156,892.72 USD). Although none of the countries directly involved are EU members, the gas associated with the pipeline will reach the EU via markets in Greece and Italy.[2]

Articles and resources


  1. "Trans-Caspian Pipeline". W-Stream Trans-Caspian Pipeline. 2018. Archived from the original on 2018-05-23. Retrieved 2021-04-01.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Gas pipeline to the EU from Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan, via Georgia and Turkey European Commission, accessed December 11, 2019
  3. TRANS-CASPIAN PIPELINE (October 2019). "NEWEST Oct2019 final wstream tilted map WS23 TCP22". Retrieved September 29, 2020.
  4. European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas (October 2020). "TYNDP 2020 - MAP – Transmission" (PDF). ENTSOG. Retrieved December 4, 2020.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas (2020). "TYNDP - Annex A - Projects Tables RPJ007_NS_2020 - entsog". ENTSOG. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  6. European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas (November 25, 2020). "TYNDP 2020 Annex A.2 – Project Tables". ENTSOG. Retrieved December 2, 2020.
  7. Trans-Caspian pipeline project: Caspian fantasy turns into reality?, Trend News Agency, December 6, 2017
  8. EU Moves Forward with Trans-Caspian Pipeline, Tengri News, accessed April, 2018
  9. Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline - the Project of Common Interest, W-Stream, November, 2015
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Еврокомиссия включила Транскаспийский газопровод в список приоритетных энергопроектов". Vesti Kavkaza. Jan 15, 2020. Retrieved Aug 23, 2021.
  11. Admir Celovic, Turkish Stream May Seal the Fate of the Trans Caspian Pipeline, Pipeline Technology Journal, May 22, 2017
  12. "European Union Keen on Trans-Caspian Pipeline Development" (PDF). Mitsui & Co. Nov 2019. Retrieved Aug 23, 2021.
  13. Mammadov, Rauf (Jan 27, 2021). "Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan Seek to Expand Cooperation on Caspian Energy Production". The Jamestown Foundation. Retrieved Aug 16, 2021.
  14. "Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan agreement advances Caspian gas cooperation". Eurasianet. Jan 22, 2021. Retrieved Aug 16, 2021.
  15. Cutler, Robert M. (March 12, 2021). "Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan Agree on the Caspian". The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst. Retrieved Aug 16, 2021.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Third time lucky for Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline?, Petroleum Economist, Jun. 6, 2019

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