Launch of Trans-Adriatic Pipeline Makes Georgia Key Transit Country for EU

THESSALONIKI, Greece – The 5 billion euro Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) project designed to deliver Caspian Sea gas to Europe via Georgia was launched on Tuesday in Thessaloniki, Greece.

The 870-km pipeline project is part of the so-called Southern Gas Corridor that will bring additional has volumes to Europe, via Georgia, from the giant Shah Deniz II field in Azerbaijan.

The corridor crosses seven countries and involves more than a dozen major energy companies several separate projects worth USD 45 billion.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said at Tuesday’s inauguration ceremony that the TAP project would be a major boost to Greece’s beleaguered economy. He also added that the opening of the corridor makes the country a regional energy hub.

“Ensuring Europe’s energy supply and diversifying its energy sources as well as the routes it uses to transport oil and gas is the foundation of both for our country’s energy strategy and for Europe as a whole,” Tsipras said.

The multi-billion dollar project links Georgia, Turkey, Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea. The pipeline will connect with the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) at the Greek-Turkish border and cross into Greece and Albania before finally terminating in Southern Italy. The TAP will promote the economic development along the pipeline route and will be a major source of foreign direct investment.

Initial gas sales to Georgia and Turkey are scheduled for late 2019, with the first deliveries to Europe coming in early 2020.

Once the operation is fully operation level, Georgia will receive an additional 1 billion cubic meters of gas from the South Corridor project.

Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili attended the launch with more than 300 prominent guests. Kvirikashvili said the TAP project would strengthen energy security and foster deeper economic cooperation with the participating countries.

“We are proud to be a reliable part of the transit corridor. Thanks to Georgia’s advantageous geographical location, we lie at the heart of the intertwined interests of gas suppliers and consumers and are therefore an integral part of the Southern Corridor,” Kvirikashvili said.

In recent years Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkey have successfully built a strong regional strategic partnership that has resulted in the creation of 30,000 new jobs in the region.

According to the National Democratic Institute’s most recent poll, about 65 per cent of Georgians consider themselves to be unemployed.

By Tamar Svanidze
Edited by Nicholas Waller

18 May 2016 17:19