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 Thessaloniki, Greece

May 30th, 2016

Under the auspices of Alexis Tsipras, Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic, was presented the TAP project, designed to provide natural gas to 7 million households in southeastern Europe. It was presented as a fundamental step in EU’s plans to create an alternative to its reliance on Russia, but is coming under intense criticism in the countries crossed by it for its serious environmental impact and the lack of involvement of local municipalities.

The plan aims to have the construction of 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 aslo allow the creation of a system for the storage of gas in Albania in order to 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 along the pipeline route's countries, and will be the only plant in the “Southern Gas Corridor “to not depend on public money.

The actors involved are assuring the population that the project will definitely not have negative consequences for the territories crossed by the pipeline. However, at local level, there is strong opposition due to 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 is active in Italy since February 2012. It is perceived by them as being harmful for the local economy, fishing, agriculture and tourism and for its 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.


Cultural Diplomacy News
Jessica Sama, CD News