Azerbaijani gas transportation project: progress and further steps forward

Baku, Azerbaijan, May 7

By Aygun Badalova -Trend:

The Trans Adriatic Pipeline, which was selected by Azerbaijani Shah Deniz field development as the route to transport its gas to Europe, has been making steady progress. All important and necessary agreements, including sale agreements, have already been signed. And now the preparations for the pipeline construction, which begin in 2015, are being carried out.

"In December 2013 TAP's shareholders confirmed their Resolution to Construct (RtC), following the Shah Deniz Consortium Final Investment Decision on the Shah Deniz Stage 2 project. Following this milestone, developers of TAP are now proceeding with the execution of the project, which includes land easement and acquisition process and preparation for tendering for steel pipes, offshore and onshore construction services etc.", TAP representative told Trend in an interview.

TAP's schedule is in full alignment with the Shah Deniz upstream developments, according to TAP representative.

The first supplies of gas produced within the second stage of Shah Deniz to Europe via TAP will start in 2019.

The procurement process and land easement and acquisition - these are the main steps within TAP's preparation for construction, which are currently underway.

TAP is currently running a pre-qualification process for potential providers of goods and services that the natural gas pipeline project requires.

"Pre-qualification is a standard procedure in procurement, identifying contractors with the required skills, capacity, experience and capabilities. During the pre-qualification TAP also assesses the availability of qualified suppliers on the market and their interest in becoming a TAP's contractor or supplier," TAP representative explained.

In April 2014 pre-qualification was announced for the construction of some new and repair some existing roads and bridges in Albania. They will be needed in order to provide access to the future pipeline construction sites. The construction of the roads and bridges in Albania is planned to start in 2015.

"TAP aims to ensure maximum opportunity for national and international suppliers to take part in this important and strategic project", TAP representative stressed.

After pre-qualification the next step in the process will be to issue Invitation to Tender (ITT) and finally to make the Contract Award, according to him.

With regard to the land easement and acquisition, the project's representative said that TAP will need to secure access to land along its proposed route so that the pipeline and its associated infrastructure can be built and operated. This process is known as Land Easement and Acquisition (LEA) and is being conducted in accordance with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) standards.

The project will affect approximately 20,750 plots of land: 12,000 in Greece, 8,500 in Albania and 250 in Italy.

Currently TAP's contractors and subcontractors are updating the land register in Greece and Albania. Their role is to ensure that TAP has the correct information on the ownership and use of all land parcels affected by the project, so that a detailed and comprehensive cadastre can be established.

"Following this, TAP's contractors visit all identified affected land owners and users to conduct an inventory of their land parcels, including any standing structures and crops. This is to ensure that TAP can establish the fair and accurate amount of compensation for any of the affected land owners", TAP representative said.

TAP plans to sign agreements with all landowners affected by the project and pay them agreed compensation for land before the construction of the pipeline begins, he added.

TAP, which will transport gas from the giant Shah Deniz II field in Azerbaijan to Europe, is designed to connect with the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) near the Turkish-Greek border at Kipoi, cross Greece and Albania and the Adriatic Sea, before coming ashore in Southern Italy.

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