April 30, 2019 / 12:21 PM / 6 months ago

TAP gas pipeline crosses Albanian rocky mountains

MARTA PASS, Albania, April 30 (Reuters) - The Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) has crossed the rocky mountains of Albania, putting it on track to start delivering gas to Europe next year.

Stretching for 878 km (546 miles) from Turkey’s border across Greece, Albania’s mountains, and the Adriatic Sea to Italy, TAP is a cornerstone of the European Union’s energy security policy to wean the bloc off Russian gas.

The pipeline will transport up to 10 billion cubic metres (bcm) of natural gas per year from the Shah Deniz II field in Azerbaijan to Italy from next year.

Out of TAP’s total cost of 4.5 billion euros ($5.04 billion), the section across Albania has cost a third of that due to the challenging terrain.

“We are proud to have risen to this challenge and delivered a world-class pipeline crossing mountains of over 2,000 metres above sea level,” TAP Albania manager Malfor Nuri told Reuters, adding that TAP is the biggest foreign investment in Albania.

Most of the pipe laying has now been done in Greece and Albania. Apart from the terrain, the developers had to deal with 100 times more owners in Albania than they would have to other European countries and double the amount of landowners it had to deal with in Greece, representatives of TAP AG in Albania said.

The pipeline crossed rivers 19 times, including the Seman River eight times. Building work was halted at times to let doves build their nests under environmental rules.

Meanwhile, in Italy, work is being carried out to build the receiving terminal and an onshore pipeline.

“The Trans Adriatic Pipeline is on schedule. In terms of overall project progress, we are 86.5 percent complete – including all engineering, procurement and construction,” Luca Schieppati, its managing director, told Reuters.

TAP AG shareholders are BP, Azerbaijan’s SOCAR, Snam , Fluxys, Enagás and Axpo.

$1 = 0.8982 euros Editing by Ivana Sekularac and Nina Chestney

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