Economy

Trans Adriatic Pipeline to Reduce Europe’s Reliance on Russia's Natural Gas

On 18th May the Construction's Inauguration Ceremony for the Trans Adriatic Pipeline Took Place in Greece

June 14th, 2016
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Under the auspices of Alexis Tsipras, Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic, the TAP project has been initiated, designed to provide natural gas to 7 million households in southeastern Europe. It was presented as a fundamental step in the EU’s plans to create an alternative to its reliance on Russia, but is coming under intense criticism for the serious environmental impact and the lack of involvement of local municipalities. The plan aims to construct a new gas pipeline that will connect Italy and Greece via Albania, allowing the flow of natural gas from the Caucasus, the Caspian Sea (Azerbaijan) and potentially the Middle East as well.

The construction of the TAP should end in 2019. The project's shareholders are Norway's Statoil (42.5 %), the Swiss Axpo Holding (42.5 %) and Germany's Eon - Ruhrgas (15 %). The pipeline will have an initial capacity of 10 billion cubic meters a year with the possibility of doubling it in the long term.

The TAP construction will also allow the creation of a system for the storage of gas in Albania. This in turn will help ensure greater security of supply for the European market in the event of occasional technical interruptions. The project aims to promote the economic development and the creation of jobs in the countries through which the pipe will run, and will be the only plant in the "Southern Gas Corridor" not to depend on public money.

The actors involved assure that the project will not have negative consequences for the territories through which the pipeline will run. However, at the local level, there is strong opposition on account of the environmental consequences this project could generate. Several local communities within the Italian peninsula are firmly taking action against the plan and the NO-TAP committee has been active in Italy since February 2012. The pipeline is conceived to be harmful for the local economy, fishing, agriculture and tourism and to have negative effects on biodiversity.

However, with the prospect of further diversifying European energy sources and of providing Europe an alternative to Russia's natural gas, the pipeline has strong backing from the European Union and a long battle with local communities is expected to come.

References:

Cultural Diplomacy News
Jessica Sama, CD News