Azeri gas starts flowing to Greece, Bulgaria, Italy via TAP

Azeri gas starts flowing to Greece, Bulgaria, Italy via TAP

The Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) started transporting gas from Azerbaijan to Greece, Bulgaria and Italy on Thursday, the consortium implementing the gas transmission project said.

The first gas reached Greece and Bulgaria via the Nea Mesimvria interconnection point with Greece's DESFA, and Italy via the Melendugno interconnection point with SNAM Rete Gas, the TAP consortium said in a statement.

“The start of gas deliveries is a significant milestone for Europe’s gas market. While we look forward to providing transportation services to shippers in the upcoming months and years, we also look forward to launching the second phase of our market test in the summer, which will enable the future expansion of TAP, doubling the pipeline’s capacity to 20bcm/a,” Marija Savova, head of commercial at TAP, said in the statement.

Connecting with the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) at Greece's border with Turkey, TAP stretches across northern Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea before reaching Italy's coast. TAP, which will carry 10 billion cubic metres of new natural gas supplies per year from the Shah Deniz field in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea to markets in Europe, is part of the Southern Gas Corridor, which also comprises the South Caucasus Pipeline (SCP) crossing Azerbaijan and Georgia, and TANAP.

Bulgaria will be able to cover up to 33% of its total gas demand through TAP after the completion of the Interconnector Greece Bulgaria (IGB), TAP said. In November, Bulgarian prime minister Boyko Borissov said the country expects to start  gas imports from Azerbaijan on January 1, 2021 through the existing gas link with Greece.

The IGB, currently under construction, will connect the Greek gas transmission system in the area of Komotini to the Bulgarian gas transmission system in the area of Stara Zagora. The projected capacity will be to 3 billion cu m per year in the direction from Greece to Bulgaria, which can subsequently be increased to 5 billion cu m.

The shareholders of TAP are BP, Azerbaijan’s state company Socar and Italy’s SNAM with 20% each, Belgium’s Fluxys with 19%, Spain’s Enagas with 16% and Swiss-based Axpo with 5%.

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