After the liberation of the occupied region of Nagorno-Karabakh by Azerbaijan, Baku is now seeking to ensure the uninterrupted supply of natural gas to Nakhichevan with a project to be carried out in cooperation with Turkey which foresees the laying of the gas pipeline this year.
Under the project, the Turkish side will invest TL 100 million ($7.38 million) in the pipeline this year.
It is built under the Memorandum of Understanding on Natural Gas Supply to the Autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan which was signed at the end of 2020 between Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Fatih Dönmez and his Azerbaijani counterpart Parviz Shahbazov.
It will be built as a continuous line to the Iğdır gas pipeline located in the easternmost Turkish province of Iğdır. The pipeline will be 82 kilometers (50.95 miles) long and will transfer natural gas obtained from Azerbaijan to Nakhchivan.
A secure supply of natural gas will be ensured to the Azerbaijani enclave as it was before the Armenian occupation of Karabakh.
The project will be carried out in cooperation with the Turkish Oil Pipeline Company (BOTAŞ) and the Azerbaijani State Energy Company SOCAR.
According to Turkey’s 2022 Annual Investment Program, the total investment budget allocated to the project is around TL 185 million which will be facilitated till 2023.
Turkey, which will make 100 million TL of investment this year, will make the rest next year.
The project, described as a major step that will be taken in terms of security of natural gas supply and diversity of resources in Nakhichevan, which has a population of up to 500,000 and a natural gas consumption of 500 million cubic meters (mcm ). The pipeline aims to deliver 1.5 million cubic meters of gas to the region daily via Iğdır.
A measuring station will also be established in Dilucu district of Iğdır under the project. The station, which will be built on a vast area of 20,000 square meters (215,278 square feet), will balance the flow of the line and ensure that natural gas will reach Nakhchivan in the safest way.
The Turkey-Nakhchivan gas pipeline is one of the latest examples of expanded energy cooperation between Ankara and Baku.
There is currently the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) which allows Azerbaijani natural gas to reach the Turkish and European markets.
It was inaugurated in June 2018 thanks to fruitful cooperation between the two countries.
Another pipeline, the 878 kilometer (545.5 mile) Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), has also started commercial operations.
The pipeline represents the European branch of the Southern Gas Corridor and connects to TANAP at the Turkish-Greek border at Kipoi, then progresses through Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea before landing in southern Italy.
Nakhchivan currently depends mainly on natural gas transported across its border with Iran based on swap operations with the country.
As part of the exchange agreement between Baku and Tehran signed in 2004, Azerbaijan supplies gas to Iran’s remote northwestern border town of Astara, and 85% of this volume goes to the Nakhchivan. Renegotiation of the terms of the deal was also on the table for Baku.
In total, around 20% of Azerbaijani territory – including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions – had been under illegal Armenian occupation for nearly three decades.
Following the 44-day Karabakh war that began on September 27, 2020 against increasing attacks and provocations from Armenia, Azerbaijan liberated much of its land from occupation.
Over 300 settlements were liberated during the war and as a result a Tripartite Declaration was signed by the leaders of Azerbaijan, Russia and Armenia on November 10, 2020.