Italy, Greece welcome selection of TAP gas route

Italy, Greece welcome selection of TAP gas route

Güneş Kömürcüler ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Italy, Greece welcome selection of TAP gas route

The TAP pipeline will collect Azeri gas in Turkey and carry it across Greece and Albania before reaching southern Italy, stretching 870 kilometers.

The selection of TAP by the consortium appears to have made the countries on the TAP route very happy, particularly economically suffering Greece, as Yorgo Kırbaki reported in daily Hürriyet yesterday.
“Greece will earn 320 million euros, and around 2,700 new jobs will be created by the project during the construction period between 2015 and 2018. In the next 50 years, it will earn around 35 billion euros, posting 5 billion euros of net profit,” the story suggested.
With the project Azerbaijanis would also appear to have direct access to the European market both as a gas seller and infrastructure builder by choosing the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) to supply gas, sources familiar to the issue told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday.

“Before the consortium’s official announcement, we do not prefer to make any announcement on whether we have won the tender or not. I, however, could say our project is very advantageous for Azerbaijanis as well as Europeans on various grounds,” said Cenk Pala, TAP’s Turkey representative, adding that Azerbaijani Socar could have direct access to the European market via the Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline (TANAP) and TAP as an active player while Europe would have cheaper Azerbaijani gas. “This is a win-win game,” Pala said.

Announcement awaited

The operators of the Shah Deniz field – BP, Statoil , Azeri state energy firm SOCAR, Total and others – are expected to make an official announcement today in Baku about which pipeline they had chosen to supply gas.

BP said today that natural gas from Azerbaijan's vast Shah Deniz II field will flow to Europe via Greece, Albania, Italy route confirming defeat for the Nabucco West project which had proposed a pipeline to Austria.

"Azerbaijan's first gas to Europe will be exported via the TAP pipeline," said Gordon Birrell, BP regional president for Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey.

Nabucco West lost the tender process to channel natural gas from the Caspian Sea to central Europe, Austrian oil and gas producer OMV, leader of the Nabucco West project, announced June 26 in a press statement.

The TAP pipeline will collect Azerbaijani gas in Turkey and carry it across Greece and Albania before reaching southern Italy, stretching 870 kilometers (540 miles). Nabucco West was more ambitious, tracking a 1,329-kilometer route north from Turkey to Austria via Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary.

“The gas could be carried from Italy anywhere in Europe as the TAP partners – Switzerland’s AXPO Holding, Statoil and Germany’s E.ON Ruhrgas – each in very good economic and financial condition, could build this infrastructure. Moreover, we have offered 25 to 30 percent higher price than Nabucco West have offered the Azerbaijanis,” Pala said, adding that Azerbaijanis could have the chance to sell gas in Western Balkans, where gas prices are very high, thanks to the planned Ionian Adriatic Pipeline (IAP), to which the TAP will be connected.

Meanwhile, Greece’s privatization authority announced on June 10 that only Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR had submitted a binding offer for the privatization of 66 percent of the Hellenic Gas Transmission System Operator (DESFA). “Azerbaijanis will thus have the chance to be an active operator in Europe as well as a gas provider,” an energy expert said yesterday.

Turkey and Azerbaijan reached an agreement on building TANAP in June 2012.