The Trans Adriatic Pipeline project, envisaging the transportation of Azerbaijani gas to Europe, remains a priority of the U.S. government.
Amos Hochstein, Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs, US Department of State, told about this in his interview with Greek news website Ekathimerini.
“I’ve spent much more time on this one project than any other project I’ve ever worked on. Even though there are no American companies in that project, we have still made this a US government priority. That’s why I was here in Thessaloniki for the groundbreaking of TAP,” Hochstein said.
The TAP pipeline, construction of which was launched on May 17 2016, is a part of the Southern Gas Corridor. The pipeline is expected to improve European energy security and lessen Europe’s dependence on Russian gas. With a starting capacity of 10 billion cubic meters a year, TAP will satisfy the energy consumption of close to seven million households in Europe.
Both the EU and the US are hoping TAP will help to boost up Europe’s energy security.
At 878 kilometers in length and 1.2 meters in diameter, the pipeline’s highest point will be at 1,800 meters in Albania, and its lowest point will be 820 meters below sea level on the bed of the Adriatic Sea. The $40 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz field to Italy, transiting Georgia, Turkey, Greece and Albania.
Hochstein further added that the United States made so much progress in the relations between Greece and Bulgaria, and the U.S. is working hard with the EU to make the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB) a reality.
Bulgaria and Greece signed last December a final investment agreement to build a natural gas pipeline, IGB. The pipeline, which is expected to be connected to TAP, will allow Bulgaria to receive the Azerbaijani gas.
IGB, with an initial capacity of 3 to 5 billion cubic meters of gas a year, potentially increased to 10 bcm, is expected to be up and running in mid-2018.
Greece's state natural gas company DEPA received nine expressions of interest to transport gas within a Greek-Bulgarian natural gas pipeline scheme in May 2016.
Interested parties had been invited to submit initial interest for transporting 4.3 billion cubic metres of gas per year from Greece to Bulgaria and about 1 billion cubic metres from Bulgaria to Greece, DEPA said in a statement.
After years of delays, the construction of IGB is expected to start in October 2016.