By Narmina Mammadova
TAP AG, the consortium engaged in construction of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which envisages transportation of Azerbaijani gas to Europe, has requested Albania’s Energy Regulatory Entity (ERE) to issue a license for natural gas transmission, monitor.al reports.
Just a few days ago, ERE launched the standard licensing procedure and asked the TAP AG consortium to submit additional documents needed.
The license will be issued for 25 years.
“The process of reviewing the application will be carried out in accordance with the "Regulation on procedures and deadlines for issuing, modifying, transferring, renewing and abolishing licenses in the Natural Gas Sector,” reads ERE's decision.
Azerbaijan is implementing a large-scale gas project, the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC), which provides for the supply of gas from the giant Shah Deniz field to Europe.
The Southern Gas Corridor is one of the priority projects for the EU and envisages the transportation of 10 billion cubic meters of Azerbaijani gas from the Caspian region through Georgia and Turkey to Europe. Gas from this field will go via the expanded South Caucasus Pipeline to the Turkish border and further to Europe through the Trans-Anatolian (TANAP) and Trans-Adriatic (TAP) pipelines.
On May 29, Baku hosted the launch ceremony of the first phase of the Southern Gas Corridor project, and on June 12, the opening ceremony of TANAP pipeline was held in the Turkish province of Eskisehir with the participation of the presidents of Azerbaijan - Ilham Aliyev, Turkey - Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Ukraine - Petro Poroshenko and Serbia - Alexander Vucic.
TAP, along with TANAP, is a part of Southern Gas Corridor project.
The Intergovernmental Agreement on the TAP project was signed by Albania, Italy and Greece in February 2013. The 878-kilometer-long TAP pipeline (Greece 550 kilometers, Albania 215 kilometers, Adriatic Sea 105 kilometers, and Italy 8 kilometers) haing connected to the TANAP on the Turkish-Greek border, will run through Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea, before coming ashore in Italy’s south.
The project is currently in its construction phase, which started in 2016.
TAP project, worth 4.5 billion euros, has already attracted 1.5 billion euros from the European Investment Bank (EIB), which approved the loan in early February 2018. 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.
As of 14 November 2018, TAP signed a Letter of Intent, marking the final stages of negotiation of the Maintenance Agreement talks between TAP and Albgaz Sh.a and Snam S.p.a. – a joint venture to act as the maintenance service provider for the Trans Adriatic Pipeline on the territory of Albania.
Approximately 82 percent of the TAP project, including engineering, procurement and construction, was implemented. Since November 2018, Albania started preparations for drilling and piping sources for the microtunel on the 105-kilometer seabed of TAP. Construction of this part of the pipeline will be carried out in 2019 according to the TAP schedule.
Recently, Albanian government has approved the decision on expropriation and temporary use of immovable property affected by the project for construction of dams that prevent river flooding and ensure protection of the TAP in the Berat, Skrapar and Fier regions of the country. Reportedly, property owners will receive full compensation. The mentioned property will be used for a period of one year, reads the decision.
TAP expects to fully complete Greek section in 2019. Recently, TAP AG and DESFA SA which is responsible for the management, operation, maintenance and development of the National Natural Gas System (NNGS) of Greece, have signed an agreement on the maintenance of Greek section (550 km) of the TAP pipeline, extending from Kipoi in Evros close to the Greek-Turkish border, to Ieropigi, Kastoria, on Greece’s border with Albania.
In November, TAP and TANAP successfully completed their connection on the banks of the Merich River on the Turkish-Greek border.
The initial capacity of TAP will be 10 billion cubic meters of gas per year with the possibility of doubling it.
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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