Baku, Azerbaijan, March 17
By Aygun Badalova - Trend:
Construction of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) will not only contribute to energy security, but also will increase competitiveness, boost job creation and growth, Maros Sefcovic, the European Commission's vice-president for Energy Union, said in an interview with the Greek news website Capital.gr.
He said that the European Commission's approval of the TAP agreement in early March is an important step towards completing the Southern Gas Corridor project.
Today the Southern Gas Corridor is among the European Commission's priority energy projects, which aims at the diversification of the EU gas supply sources and routes.
The project envisages transportation of 10 billion cubic meters of Azerbaijani gas from the Caspian Sea to Europe through Georgia and Turkey.
"Two weeks ago, I was in Baku, where I attended the second Southern Gas Corridor ministerial meeting, which confirmed the determination of all participating parties to complete this key infrastructure project in time," Sefcovic said.
TAP's construction is expected to start in the third quarter of this year, said Sefcovic, adding that the pipeline is to be commissioned in 2020, which is when the first Caspian gas should be reaching the EU.
He added that TAP will invest 5.6 billion euros over five years in the project, of which 2.3 billion euros will go directly to Greece.
The TAP pipeline is meant to transport natural gas from the giant Shah Deniz 2 field in Azerbaijan to Europe. The approximately 870 km long TAP will connect with the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) at the Turkish-Greek border at Kipoi, cross Greece and Albania and the Adriatic Sea, before coming ashore in southern Italy.
Sefcovic also said the Energy Union aims to improve infrastructure and connections between member states and to ensure that all member states have access to liquid hubs and can benefit from LNG capacity that countries have been developing or have the potential to develop.
"This is precisely the objective of the High Level Group on Central and South Eastern Europe Gas Connectivity (CESEC group), established a year ago in order to better address regional priority infrastructure and to advance its implementation in order to improve security of gas supplies. Our objective is that each member state in the region, including Greece, would have access to at least three different sources of gas," he said.
The Greece-Bulgaria gas interconnector (IGB), according to Sefcovic, is one of the seven priority projects that have been identified by the CESEC High Level Group, which is working hard to support its timely implementation.
To this end, the European Commission is in frequent contact with the project΄s promoter and shareholders, as well as the Greek and Bulgarian authorities, Sefcovic said.
He recalled that the final investment decision on the IGB project was signed in December 2015.
"This should be swiftly followed up by concrete actions so that advantage can be taken of the eventual availability of gas from Azerbaijan and other new sources. Timely implementation will also help this project align with the project schedules of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline in Greece," said Sefcovic.