ATHENS, February 14 (RIA Novosti) - Greece, Albania and Italy signed an intergovernmental agreement on Wednesday to build the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) to deliver Azerbaijani gas to Europe.
“A new energy corridor will appear on Europe’s energy map, which has serious competitive advantages in comparison with other variants being considered,” Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said.
He said the project will have lower construction costs and less countries involved in transit than other variants and will also increase the geopolitical status of countries involved. In Greece alone, it will create about 2,000 jobs and attract 1.5 billion euro of investment.
The trilateral agreement was signed by Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos, Albanian Deputy Prime Minister and Energy Minister Edmond Haxhinasto and Italian Development Minister Corrado Passera. The ceremony was attended by TAP consortium representatives and high ranking officials of third countries, including US Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Eric Rubin.
A Greek parliamentary opposition party, left-wing Syriza, criticized the deal for being carried out to the detriment of Greece’s existing energy ties with Russia.
TAP will transport gas from the Caspian region via Greece and Albania and across the Adriatic Sea to southern Italy and further into Western Europe. The project is aimed at enhancing security of supply as well as diversification of gas supplies for the European markets.
The pipeline is designed to expand transportation capacity from 10 to 20 bcm per year. The project’s shareholders are Axpo of Switzerland (42.5%), Norway’s Statoil (42.5%) and E.ON Ruhrgas of Germany (15%).
TAP is not the only project to deliver Azerbaijani gas to Europe. Its rival projects are the Nabucco West and the Turkey-Greece-Italy pipeline (ITGI).