By Fatma Babayeva
The construction of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) is strategic for the diversification of the gas supply sources not only for the European Union and the Balkans, but also for Italy, Italian ANSAmed news network reported on June 13 citing country's Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni.
Following the inauguration of the TAP project in Thessaloniki, about one month ago, a challenge has opened: seeing Azerbaijani gas reach Italy by 2020, said Gentiloni, while addressing the fourth session of the inter-government commission on economic cooperation between Italy and Azerbaijan in Rome.
Italy and Azerbaijan can look at new horizons, the Italian minister said, further adding that the objective is to boost economic and political relations between Italy and Azerbaijan, which is considered a strategic regional partner.
TAP project, European leg of the Southern Gas Corridor, envisages transportation of the gas extracted from Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz Stage 2 gas and condensate field to the EU countries.
The construction of TAP pipeline was launched in May 2016. The overall construction phase will take about three years and is expected to finalize in 2019. Its initial capacity will be 10 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year, expandable to 20 billion cubic meters.
The 870-kilometer pipeline will be connected to the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) on the Turkish-Greek border, run through Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea, before coming ashore in Italy's south.
Italy has remained Azerbaijan's main trade partner over the recent years.
The trade turnover between the two countries stood at $567.54 million in January-April 2016, according to Azerbaijan's State Statistical Committee. This is while $443.47 million of this volume accounted for the export of Azerbaijani products to Italy.
Fatma Babayeva is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Fatma_Babayeva
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