TAP’s commissioning to boost Italian-Azerbaijani trade
BAKU, Azerbaijan, Feb.19
By Leman Zeynalova – Trend:
Once the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) goes online, the amount of trade between Italy and Azerbaijan will inevitably, and substantially, grow, Augusto Massari, Italian ambassador to Azerbaijan told Trend.
“Italy will not only be Azerbaijan’s first worldwide trade partner in oil (our imports in 2018 were roughly equal to 12 percent of Azerbaijan’s nominal GDP), but also the second importer of natural gas after Turkey. We can confidently say that this will further strengthen Italy’s role as Azerbaijan’s first trade partner,” said the envoy.
He pointed out that TAP project is proceeding according to plan and reached 92 percent of completion at the end of January.
“Work is speedily proceeding in the Italian segment of the pipeline. We expect the first gas from Azerbaijan to reach the Italian network in the autumn. The Italian government has consistently supported the project over the years, bearing in mind its role in further diversifying Italy and the EU’s gas supplies, and accelerating our transition toward a clean energy mix,” said Massari.
As the envoy said, Italy has the second-largest manufacturing sector in Europe, and produces only a tiny fraction of the huge amount of energy it needs.
“The initial supplies of gas through TAP (10 billion cubic meters of per year, of which 8.8 earmarked for Italy proper) will be helpful, but our market may indeed demand more. I know that several hypotheses exist in this regard, among which the Trans Caspian Pipeline, but it seems that discussions in this regard are still at an early stage,” said Massari.
TAP project, worth 4.5 billion euros, is one of the priority energy projects for the European Union (EU). The project envisages transportation of gas from Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz Stage 2 to the EU countries.
Connecting with the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) at the Greek-Turkish border, TAP will cross Northern Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea before coming ashore in Southern Italy to connect to the Italian natural gas network.
The project is currently in its construction phase, which started in 2016.
Once built, TAP will offer a direct and cost-effective transportation route opening up the vital Southern Gas Corridor, a 3,500-kilometer long gas value chain stretching from the Caspian Sea to Europe.
TAP shareholders include 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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