The ministry of Energy in Azerbaijan has announced that is has started commercial natural gas supplies to Europe via the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), beginning its push into the European market dominated by Russia. The project has been supported by the European commission to reduce dependence on Russia.

At this time Russia controls 34% of Europe’s gas market and plans to increase gas export to Europe, including Turkey, to 183 billion cubic meters (bcm) next year from the 171-172 bcm expected this year. Annual consumption in Europe stand at around 500 bcm, most of it used in power generation.

TAP is part of the $40 billion Southern Gas Corridor, stretching 3,500 km from Azerbaijan to Europe and drawing from Azerbaijan’s giant Shah Deniz II field in the Caspian Sea.

Azerbaijan targets to supply the European gas market with 10 bcm of gas per year, including 8 bcm to Italy and a combined 2 bcm to Greece and Bulgaria. It already supplies gas to Turkey.