FOCUS: An energy route between the Caspian Sea and Europe >>A $7b gas pipeline deal between Azerbaijan and Turkey will help boost deliveries to Europe At a ceremony in Istanbul, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan signed a deal to finally complete a gas pipeline route from the Caspian Sea to western Turkey (June 26). The $7b deal paves the way for the Trans-Anatolian Gas Pipeline (dubbed TANAP) to be built across Turkey, bringing gas ever closer to Europe. For years the EU has been trying to put together a plan for a new energy route through the South Caucasus and on to central Europe. Its preferred option had been to build a new gas pipeline called Nabucco from eastern Turkey straight to central Europe. This though has proved complicated and momentum has slowed. That’s why TANAP is important. It will provide the link and should be built within six years. The plan is for TANAP to carry 16bcm (billion cubic metres) of gas a year, half the capacity that Nabucco ambitiously aimed for. Still, of that 16 bcm, 6bcm is designated to Turkey and 10bcm to Europe through a proposed branch pipeline, media reported. And TANAP — Azerbaijan owns an 80% stake, Turkey 20% — has said that capacity can be boosted. By delivering gas to western Turkey, TANAP will also secure gas for Europe.