Greece signs host government agreement with TAP consortium
Greece and the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) consortium on Wednesday officially signed the Host Government Agreement initialed last week, at an official ceremony held in Athens, ANA-MPA reported.
In statements after the ceremony, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras emphasised the investments and jobs that the construction of the pipeline will create, as well as Greece's future position as an energy hub for the region.
Though the agreement was signed on Wednesday, the final decision for the pipeline's construction is not expected before Friday, when the Shah Deniz II consortium in Azerbaijan will announce the pipeline that is to be supplied first.
All signs point to the selection of TAP - which starts on the Greek-Turkish border and goes to Italy via Albania and an underwater section in the Adriatic Sea - but there is no official announcement yet, though there is an announcement that the rival Nabucco West pipeline has been rejected.
The agreement was also signed by Deputy Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Assimakis Papageorgiou, who said he was extremely optimistic regarding the Shah Deniz consortium's final decision. He stressed that the construction of the pipeline will place Greece on the international energy map and bring benefits on a geopolitical level, creating a positive investment climate and boosting competition for the benefit of consumers.
Speaking on behalf of the TAP consortium, TAP Managing Director Kjetil Tungland thanked the government for its cooperation and especially emphasised the support given by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, the Parliament and the ministries involved.
He said that the agreement was a firm basis for carrying out the 1.5-billion-euro investment for the construction of the Greek portion of the pipeline, noting that he looked forward to long-term cooperation with Greek authorities.
TAP's country director for Greece Rikard Scoufias stressed that the agreement was "an important component for securing Greece's and TAP's bid for the Southern Gas Corridor, but also constitutes an international benchmark for expediency in terms of establishing a positive investment climate."