Erdogan said gas pipeline deal signed with Azerbaijan a major contribution to the European energy security
Speaking at the penning ceremony for the Trans Anatolian Gas Pipeline or TANAP in Istanbul with Azeri President Ilham Aliyev, Erdogan said the agreement constituted the most important step to complete the legal framework of the project.
Erdogan said the project would strengthen the strategic cooperation between Turkey and Azerbaijan and it would also establish an organic tie between Azerbaijan and Europe.
"With the materialization of the project, Turkey and Azerbaijan will make a great contribution to European Union's goal of diversification of energy resources and our two countries will assume an important role in European energy security," Erdogan said.
Erdogan said projects that made up the East-West energy corridor are strategic steps taken toward economic development as well as improving security and peace in the region.
Erdogan said Turkey strongly supported projects in the Southern Gas Corridor which he said would strengthen both Turkey's and Europe's energy security.
TANAP will transport natural gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz-II field via Georgia to Turkey and on to Europe.
The two countries signed in December 2011 a memorandum of understanding to construct the $7-billion pipeline.
Azerbaijan's state oil company SOCAR will hold an 80-percent stake, and two Turkish state-owned companies Petroleum Pipeline Corporation, (BOTAS) and Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) will have 10-percent stakes each.
The first stage of a total of four of the project is expected to be completed in 2018.
When completed in 2020, the pipeline would carry 16 billion cubic meters of gas annually and Turkey will buy 6 million cubic meters of it as the rest would be transported to Europe via Bulgaria and/or Greece.
The capacity of the pipeline is estimated to reach 23 million cubic meters in 2023 and to 31 million cubic meters in 2026.