TAP expects agreement of transit countries in early 2013
Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) expects the intergovernmental agreement (IGA) between Greece, Italy and Albania to be signed in early 2013, TAP's Managing Director Kjetil Tungland said in an interview to Natural Gas Europe.
According to Tungland, the signing of the tripartite memorandum of understanding between the transit countries' governments had kicked-off the negotiations between the governments on a full scale IGA on TAP.
"This is our next highest political goal to conclude the process by signing the document in early 2013," Tungland said adding that the Shah Deniz consortium would like to see this happening before they finally choose the pipeline for transporting Caspian gas to Europe.
The governments of Italy, Greece and Albania confirmed their political support for the TAP project by signing a Memorandum of Understanding in late September.
TAP project is designed to transport gas from the Caspian region via Greece and Albania and across the Adriatic Sea to southern Italy and further into Western Europe. Gas to be produced within the second phase of Azerbaijani Shah Deniz gas condensate field development is considered as the main source for TAP. TAP's initial pipeline capacity will be 10 billion cubic metres per year, expandable to 20 billion cubic metres per year. TAP's shareholders are EGL of Switzerland (42.5 percent), Norway's Statoil (42.5 percent) and E.ON Ruhrgas of Germany (15 percent).
Tungland said that as a mere gas transportation solution, TAP is ready from technical and operational points of view. "We will do the outmost to deliver a long-term secure and reliable infrastructure from producers to consumers," Tungland said.
"Now it is high time for gas buyers and sellers to finally conclude gas sales agreements. They need to determine the quantities of gas which sellers can offer and the price buyers are willing to pay. This needs to be done very soon to "close the circle", so to say," he added.
With regard to the competition between TAP and Russia's South Stream project, Tungland said that the latter development does not interfere with TAP's plans. He explained that southern leg option of the South Stream, which originally passed through Greece to southern Italy, similarly to TAP's route, was recently excluded. According to Tungland, Nabucco West remains the only competitor to TAP.
Tungland also stressed that TAP is very much positively influenced by the successful development of Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline (TANAP) project. "We enjoy close cooperation with the developers of TANAP and regularly discuss our interconnection plans with them. Overall, TANAP is very important for the success of TAP as we are pieces in the same value chain," Tungland said.