The European Commission yesterday approved the Host Government Agreement between Greece and the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) consortium in a move that gives the green light to the construction of the new gas pipeline along the bed of the Adriatic from Greece and Albania to Italy that is intended to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russia for its energy requirements by providing a direct supply of gas from the Caspian Sea.
The agreement sets out how the consortium will construct and operate the pipeline and provides TAP with a specific tax regime for the first 25 years of commercial operations.“The European Commission has found the Host Government Agreement between the Greek authorities and the Trans Adriatic Pipeline to be in line with EU state aid rules,” the EC said in a statement posted on its website. “The project will improve the security and diversity of EU energy supplies without unduly distorting competition in the Single Market.”
The 870km TAP pipeline is intended to transport natural gas from Azerbaijan’s giant Shah Deniz 2 field in Azerbaijan to Europe and will hook up with theTrans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) at the Turkish-Greek border at Kipoi.
“Today’s approval of the TAP agreement is an important step towards completing the Southern Gas Corridor [the 3500km gas-value chain stretching from the Caspian Sea to Europe],” Maros Sefcovic, the EC Vice President in charge of the Energy Union is quoted as saying in the statement. “The Energy Union framework strategy of February 2015 identified this project as a key contribution to the EU’s energy security, bringing new routes and sources of gas to Europe.”
The TAP consortium’s major shareholders are SOCAR, Snam, BP, Fluxys, Enagás and Axpo, and work on the new pipeline is expected to begin in mid-2016.