TAP to award majority of operations contracts in 2018 – managing director (exclusive)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Sept.14

By Leman Zeynalova – Trend:

The procurement process for the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) operations and maintenance contracts has already commenced, with the majority of long lead contracts scheduled to be awarded in 2018, TAP Managing Director Luca Schieppati said in an interview with Trend.

He noted that all pipeline construction contracts – Engineering Procurement Construction (EPC) and Company Provided Items (CPI) contracts – were awarded by 2016.

Talking about the construction process of the pipeline, Schieppati said that the Trans Adriatic Pipeline is on schedule.

“Every day we are getting closer to being ready for transporting first Shah Deniz II gas to Europe in 2020,” he noted. “At this point in time, we are over 50 percent complete. This includes all engineering, procurement and construction scope. As you can imagine, the realization of TAP is an important milestone for contributing to Europe’s energy security and diversification.”

The managing director said that in Greece, as of early September, over 405 km of the right of way have been cleared, approximately 375 km line pipes strung, over 345 km welded, 257 km back-filled and nearly 160 km of the route have been and are being reinstated.

He went on to add that line pipes continue to arrive to Kavala, Thessaloniki and Alexandroupolis.

“So far, approximately 90 percent of the 32,000 line pipes needed to build the 550km Greek section have been delivered,” he said.

As for Albania, Schieppati said that approximately 143 km have been cleared and graded along our route, 136 km line pipes strung, 129 km welded and approximately 107 km back-filled and around 70 km are being reinstated.

“This means that between Greece and Albania, TAP has now cleared and graded over 71 percent of its corridor (approximately 550km out of 765km). Additionally, we have welded 62 percent of steel line pipes and around 47 percent pipes are already in the ground (back-filled),” he added.

In Italy, in line with the Single Authorisation permit granted by the Ministry of Economy on 20 May 2015, TAP continues to progress, according to the managing director.

“We have now moved the first set of olive trees in the micro-tunnel area between March and July 2017. These trees are carefully looked after in a nearby nursery and will be planted back to their original location once pipeline construction works have been completed. Also, the last shipment of offshore line pipes has been offloaded in Brindisi, between 3 and 6 September,” he said.

But above all, Schieppati pointed out that TAP remains on track to deliver world-class health and safety performance.

“Thus far, our teams have driven approximately 43.5 million kilometres and worked more than 16.5 million manhours without any major safety incidents,” he added.

Regarding the financing issue, the managing director said that TAP expects to secure funding from a number of multilateral institutions, such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the European Investment Bank, as well as Export Credit Guarantee Agencies of a number of OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries involved in the supply of goods and services.

“In addition, a large proportion of TAP’s financing is foreseen to include commercial lenders,” he noted.

TAP is a part of the Southern Gas Corridor, which is one of the priority energy projects for the European Union. The project envisages transportation of gas from Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz Stage 2 to the EU countries.

The pipeline will connect to the Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) on the Turkish-Greek border, run through Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea, before coming ashore in Italy’s south.

TAP will be 878 kilometers in length (Greece 550 kilometers, Albania 215 kilometers, Adriatic Sea 105 kilometers, and Italy 8 kilometers).

TAP’s shareholding is comprised of BP (20 percent), SOCAR (20 percent), Snam S.p.A. (20 percent), Fluxys (19 percent), Enagás (16 percent) and Axpo (5 percent).

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Follow the author on Twitter: @Lyaman_Zeyn

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