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Greece eyes energy hub status with new gas pipeline

Greece eyes energy hub status with new gas pipeline
Greece priorities were brought into focus mid-month when construction was launched on a 550km (342-mile) section of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), to bring gas from the vast Azerbaijani Shah Deniz 2 field, western Turkey to Greece, Albania and across the Adriatic to Italy.

Though Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras hailed said the pipeline as ushering Greece and Europe into a "new era" he had his mind on other plusses of the project.

"TAP is one of the greatest direct foreign investment projects carried out in Greece," said Tsipras at the ceremony held in Thessaloniki. Indeed, for crisis-hit Greece, it means an investment of over Euro 1.5bn ($1.7bn) and 8,000 jobs noted the premier, adding the “Greek economy really needs these jobs”.

He also noted, the “energy map of south-east Europe is being redefined and this turns Greece into an energy hub of the region.”

The largest endeavour to bring new supply sources to European consumers, TAP is 878 km long, running from Komotini in northeastern Greece to Puglia, Italy. It will cover 215 km across Albania, 105 km under the Adriatic and eight in Italy.

It will have an annual capacity of 10m cu m, meeting the needs of some 7m households.

"Once complete, TAP will be a major asset in the European energy security tool box," said EU vp Maros Sefcovic, who was also present at the ceremony. "By opening up access to gas from Azerbaijan, TAP will allow many countries, including in Central and South East Europe to diversify their sources of gas," he said.

TAP is designed to link up with the 1,850 km Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) – to be completed in 2018 – and the existing South Caucasus Pipeline (SCP), which links Turkey to the Azerbaijani gas fields in the Caspian Sea through Georgia. Together, the three pipelines will form what has been called the Southern Gas Corridor.

Total project costs – which include drilling, offshore platforms and terminals as well as pipelines – are $45bn and the entire pipeline route will span 3,500 km, with TAP the final link into Europe.