TAP open to new shareholders

Baku, Azerbaijan, April 7

By Aygun Badalova - Trend:

The Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) is open to addition of new shareholders, which can add strategic value to the project, TAP Head of Communications Lisa Givert told Trend on April 7.

TAP, which is designed to transport Azerbaijani gas to the European market within the Southern Gas Corridor project, can expand its capacity from initial 10 to 20 billion cubic meters per year.

The project's representative said that TAP is fully committed to transport volumes from the second phase of Azerbaijani Sha Deniz field development through Greece, Albania and into Italy.

"For any additional volumes that come on stream, TAP will comply with EU regulation and relevant sanctions," Givert said.

Last week Iran and world powers reached a framework agreement on implementation of some restrictions over Iran's nuclear program for at least a decade. In exchange, the EU and the US will stop imposing sanctions on Iran after reaching a comprehensive nuclear deal (expected to be achieved by June 30).

The sanctions against the Islamic Republic were serious obstacles on the way of its becoming a major player in the world energy market, and in particular, highly lucrative gas market.

The country repeatedly expressed its interest in supplying its gas to the European markets. Once the sanctions are lifted, Iran will be able to freely realize its plans.

From this point of view, the Southern Gas Corridor, a project initiated by Azerbaijan, is extremely suitable for these purposes. Azerbaijan, in fact, is the only option for supplying Iran's gas to Europe.

The participation of Iran in the Southern Gas Corridor can be possible through the acquisition of a stake in the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP), which has the opportunities to expand capacity from 16 to 31 billion cubic meters.

Rovnag Abdullayev, the president of Azerbaijan's state oil company SOCAR, said on April 4 that the company has some attractive offers for the sale of a stake in TANAP.

TANAP will be connected to the TAP near the Turkish-Greek border at Kipoi to further transport gas across Greece and Albania and the Adriatic Sea, before coming ashore in Southern Italy.

Turkey will obtain gas within the Shah Deniz-2 project in 2018 and after the construction of TAP, gas will be delivered to Europe in early 2020.

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Aygun Badalova is Trend Agency's staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @AygunBadalova

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