Norway’s StatoilHydro and Swiss EGL Group will on Wednesday sign an agreement to establish an equally-owned joint venture to develop, build and operate the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). Turkey-Switzerland discuss energy cooperation, pipelines.
The pipeline will open a new corridor and market outlet for natural gas from the Caspian Sea and Middle East regions into Europe. The 520-kilometer long pipeline will transport gas via Greece and Albania and across the Adriatic Sea to Italy’s southern Puglia region and further into Western Europe. TAP’s offshore length will measure about 115 kilometer. In its upstream part TAP will interconnect with Greece’s existing pipeline system that is linked further to the east with systems in Turkey. The gas transport capacity of the pipeline will be around 10 billion cubic meter annually, with the option to expand to 20 billion cubic meter. TAP is expected to be operational at the earliest from 2011, depending on the gas shipment needs. Implementation of the TAP project is subject to a final investment decision planned for the H2 of 2009. EGL, which started the project, estimates it will cost €1.5 billion ($2.2 billion) to build the pipeline.
StatoilHydro says the final cost will depend on several factors at the time of construction, such as international steel prices and other pipeline equipment-related costs. We are pleased to join EGL in the effort of offering a new outlet for gas transported from Asia to Europe. We aim to add value to the TAP project by combining our market competence with a strong track-record in developing and building gas pipelines,” said Rune Bjørnson, Executive Vice President for Natural Gas in StatoilHydro. “Our joining of the TAP project should be viewed as a move to offer an attractive market outlet for the Shah Deniz gas to the European market,” said Bjørnson. StatoilHydro is today the second largest supplier of gas to Europe. The group holds a 25.5% stake in Shah Deniz, a major gas field in the Azeri part of the Caspian Sea. The field commenced production in 2006. Recently, additional reserves were proven up to support the development of a second stage of the field.
Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Hilmi Guler met Walter Steinmann, the Director of Swiss Federal Office of Energy, in Ankara on Wednesday. Guler told reporters, “Turkey and Switzerland are assessing construction of a new natural gas pipeline as ‘Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) Project’ that would reach the Balkans, Albania and then Italy via Turkey.” Guler said they discussed renewable energy projects, new pipelines as well as nuclear energy issues. “We consider to carry out very comprehensive joint energy projects with Switzerland. We think of signing a memorandum of understanding with Switzerland soon,” Guler added. Briefing reporters about TAP project, Guler said it is an additional project to Turkey-Greece-Italy pipeline and Nabucco Pipeline. “This pipeline will carry Iranian natural gas to Thessaloniki (via Turkey) and then to Albania, and it will pass over Adriatic Sea to Italy,” he said. Guler said Turkey will assess the conditions about the project in a detailed way and then make a decision. (NRK, press release, The New Anatolian, Turkey)