BAKU, Azerbaijan, Dec.29
By Leman Zeynalova – Trend:
Trend’s exclusive interview with Managing Director of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) consortium Luca Schieppati
Expected transportation volume as of 2021
Considering the nomination levels for the first week of December, the volume of gas transportation via TAP is expected to reach approximately 7.8 billion cubic meters by the end of 2021, Schieppati said.
"The total amount of gas transported by the end of 2021 will depend on the nominations made by TAP’s shippers. By early-December, TAP transported over 7 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas from Azerbaijan to Europe. By diversifying the sources of supply, TAP brought increased liquidity to selected European gas markets. The gas transported by TAP also contributed to narrowing the spread between the Italian PSV and the Dutch TTF gas benchmark prices, without which the gas price in Italy would probably have been even higher. TAP has been providing reliable transportation services throughout 2021, without interruption. Since the start of commercial operations on 15 November 2020, TAP has been making available the entire transportation capacity of 10 billion cubic meters per year," he explained.
The managing director noted that TAP’s expansion capacity is offered to the market through regular market tests.
"The market test is the regulated process through which shippers can get access to new, long-term capacity in TAP. TAP’s capacity can be expanded up to 20 bcm/a. The capacity of the pipeline can be increased in stages; for instance: limited expansion (approx. 14.4bcm/a), partial expansion (approx. 17.1bcm/a) or full expansion (approx. 20bcm/a). The capacity expansion timeline will depend on the selected technical solution, as well as the actual capacity that TAP needs to make available as a result of the market test," said Schieppati.
He pointed out that TAP will expand its capacity to accommodate binding commitments for long-term capacity if the market test results in an economically viable outcome (in accordance with the TAP regulatory framework).
"The 2021 TAP market test is currently in progress. The non-binding phase of the 2021 market test was launched on 12 July 2021. The Demand Assessment Report of TAP, Snam Rete Gas (SRG) and DESFA was published on 25 October 2021," added the TAP managing director.
Schieppati noted that for the full expansion and the possible doubling of TAP’s initial capacity of 10 bcm/a (approx. 20bcm/a), two additional compressor stations will have to be built to handle the additional volume of gas to be transported via the pipeline: one in Serres, Greece, and one in Bilisht, Albania. Moreover, additional compressors and equipment will need to be installed at TAP’s two existing compressor stations, in Kipoi, Greece and Fier, Albania.
"Please note that TAP’s expansion does not entail the installation of new pipelines," he explained.
Studies of possibility of hydrogen transportation
TAP managing director noted that the results of the 2021 preliminary assessment of hydrogen readiness confirm that TAP has the potential to transport hydrogen blends in the future.
"In light of the positive outcome of the study, TAP may initially target to introduce up to 10% volume blends of hydrogen. Any further incrementally higher percentages will depend on further R&D and regulatory developments. The timeline for the first introduction of hydrogen into TAP is contingent on a wide range of factors, especially regulatory developments, as well as the evolution of the hydrogen market. Therefore, in 2022, TAP shall proceed with the next steps in planning, developing studies and testing pipeline materials and welding, in coordination with its adjacent transmission system operators, the governments of TAP’s host countries and other relevant stakeholders," he added.
Security of TAP’s operation
Schieppati noted that the TAP security performance benchmark is in line with international best practice and globally recognised industry security standards.
"TAP adopts a layered, integrated approach to security, centred around risk assessment, physical and cyber security measures, and close collaboration with our host governments," he said.
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