In a long-awaited decision to bring Azeri gas resources to Europe, the Shah Deniz II consortium opted for a pipeline running through Greece and Albania instead of a rival northwestern route, Nabucco West, running from Bulgaria to Austria.
The Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) will stretch 870 kilometres from the Greek-Turkish border. Moving west, TAP is designed to extend across the breadth of northern Greece before veering northwest to Albania. From Fier, Albania, plans envision the pipeline crossing under the Adriatic to emerge in southern Italy.
TAP will connect with the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP), schedule to be completed in 2018, which will initially bring 16 billion cubic metres of Azeri gas through Turkey to the Greek border. By 2026, TANAP could carry up to 31 billion cubic metres of gas per year.
Analysts said the decision gives Greece and Albania an economic and geostrategic boost and will allow energy-rich Azerbaijan to play a greater role in the energy distribution networks in the Balkans.
Theodoros Tsakiris, co-ordinator of the Geopolitics of Energy programme at the Athens-based think-tank ELIAMEP, said TAP beat out Nabucco West because the latter was more expensive and less commercially attractive.
Nevertheless, a recurring concern when considering Azeri gas as an alternative to crucial Russian supplies — part of the EU’s push for greater energy diversification — is whether quantities from Azerbaijan alone are sufficient.
Gas from Iran, Iraq and Turkmenistan could someday flow east to west through TAP, and possibly a revived Nabucco West, via Turkey.
“Once a pipeline is built it helps attract other resources; there’s an element of faith involved in a pipeline project. For them [Shah Deniz consortium] to want to go ahead there’s enough gas to proceed with the pipeline, but it may not yield huge profits,” he said.
TAP’s major stakeholders include Norway’s Statoil, the Swiss company AXPO and E.ON Ruhrgas of Germany. The Shah Deniz II brings together energy companies BP, SOCAR, Statoil and Total.
Negotiations between all concerned parties are expected to begin immediately over the closely watched terms of the project’s final agreement.
What’s New: 31 July 2013
According to the Official site of the TAP Project, the Trans Adriatic Pipeline AG (TAP) today announced that BP, SOCAR and Total – members of the international consortium developing the giant Shah Deniz field in Azerbaijan – have exercised their option to join the Trans Adriatic Pipeline AG.
BP and SOCAR have each taken a 20% share while Total has acquired 10%. In addition, Fluxys, a major gas transit operator in Europe, has opted to join TAP, taking a 16% stake in the project. TAP’s shareholders, Axpo of Switzerland, Statoil of Norway and E.ON of Germany also continue their support of the project.
TAP’s shareholding is now comprised of BP (20%), SOCAR (20%), Statoil (20%), Fluxys (16%), Total (10%), E.ON (9%) and Axpo (5%).
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