Minister: IAP - best way for Montenegro to be gas-supplied (Exclusive)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb.14

By Leman Zeynalova – Trend:

Ionian Adriatic Pipeline (IAP) is the best way for gas supply to Montenegro, Economy Minister of Montenegro Dragica Sekulic said in an interview with Trend.

Sekulic noted that the main activities in Montenegro related to the IAP implementation are the development of Preliminary Design of the Ionian Adriatic Gas Pipeline – Montenegro and Albania sections, with relevant Environmental and Social Impact Assessments and independent technical reviews (project funded by the Western Balkans Investment Framework), adoption of Special Purpose Spatial Plan for Coastal Region of Montenegro (with IAP route) and the development and adoption of secondary gas legislation.

The main activity of the Project Management Unit (PMU) for IAP in the coming period is the establishment of the project company, which will, as a legal entity take over the duties and activities from the PMU, which will in its current form probably take the role of the Steering Committee, added the minister.

Sekulic pointed out that the first step in that direction is the signing of the Letter of Intent on the Foundation of Ionian-Adriatic Pipeline Project Company by Albanian, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatian and Montenegrin natural gas transmission system operators (TSOs).

She recalled that ministries in charge for Energy of Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia signed the Memorandum of Understanding and together with the Transmission System Operators for gas (TSO) from each country established the Project Management Unit (PMU) for the IAP Project, devoted to defining further steps leading to the facilitation of development and implementation of the IAP Project.

PMU promotes the IAP project and uses every opportunity to present the importance and significance of IAP to the interested parties, decision makers within international community and potential partners/investors, added the minister.

Sekulic said that each country has two members in the PMU, one from the government and the other one from the TSO, with the Energy Community Secretariat and SOCAR as observers. “The Permanent Secretariat of the PMU is hosted by the Ministry of Economy of Montenegro.”

“In addition to good cooperation we have in the field of tourism, energy cooperation between Montenegro and Azerbaijan is of strategic economic importance for us,” said the economy minister. “Energy is one of the main pillars of development of Montenegro and in this field we've been implementing and we plan to implement several important strategic projects.”

She noted that one of them is certainly the IAP project that, when it comes to natural gas, for Montenegro has the same importance as submarine power cable between Montenegro and Italy, when it comes to electricity.

“All our relevant documents and studies prove that the best way for Montenegro to be gas-supplied is through the Ionian-Adriatic Pipeline (IAP) and the valorization of its gas reserves from the Adriatic sea. IAP project will not only bring natural gas to Montenegro, but will link it with other countries of the region and enable natural gas, which is likely to be found in our offshore, be transported further to the Western Europe,” said Sekulic.

As for the Southern Gas Corridor, Montenegrin minister noted that it is of great importance for the European energy security, as pointed out in numerous European Commission’s and Energy Community’s documents.

“Security of supply has been, for number of years now, the focus of European institutions, and diversification of sources of natural gas certainly one of the priorities. As for Montenegro, where natural gas infrastructure is currently not developed, it is estimated that Ionian-Adriatic Pipeline, an integral part of the Southern Gas Corridor, is the only reliable and viable source of natural gas and all our efforts and activities in this field are directed towards speedy development of this project,” she added.

IAP is a proposed natural gas pipeline in Southeastern Europe (SEE) that will stretch from Albania through Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, to Split in Croatia. It will be connected with the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). The capacity of the pipeline will amount to five billion cubic meters of gas per year.

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Follow the author on Twitter: @Lyaman_Zeyn

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