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Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) (Albanian: Gazsjellësi Trans-Adriatik, Azerbaijani: Trans Adriatik Boru Xətti Greek: Διαδριατικός Αγωγός Φυσικού Αερίου, Italian: Gasdotto Trans-Adriatico) is a pipeline, which transports natural gas from Azerbaijan at the Caspian Sea to Europe starting from Greece through Albania and the Adriatic Sea to Italy.

The pipeline would be supplied by natural gas from the second stage of the Shah Deniz (Azerbaijan) gas field development in the Azerbaijani section of Caspian Sea through the South Caucasus Pipeline and the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP).[6][7] Since it will enhance energy security and diversify gas supplies for several European markets, the TAP project is supported by the European institutions and seen as a "Project of Common Interest" and a part of the Southern Gas Corridor.[8][9]

TAP west of Korçë, Albania

The pipeline starts at the Greece–Turkey border at Kipoi, Evros, where it will be connected with the Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline. It will cross Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea and come ashore in Italy near San Foca. The total length of the pipeline will be 878 kilometres (546 mi), of which 550 kilometres (340 mi) in Greece, 215 kilometres (134 mi) in Albania, 105 kilometres (65 mi) in offshore, and 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) in Italy. The offshore leg will be laid at a maximum depth of 810 metres (2,660 ft).[33]

The initial capacity of the pipeline will be about 10 billion cubic metres (350 billion cubic feet) of natural gas per year, with the option to expand the capacity up to 20 billion cubic metres (710 billion cubic feet).[12] It will use 48-inch (1,200 mm) pipes for pressure of 95 bars (9,500 kPa) on the onshore section and 36-i

On 22 November 2012, the TAP consortium and Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline's partners signed a memorandum of understanding that establishes a cooperation framework between the two parties.[28]

In February 2013, Greece, Italy and Albania signed an intergovernmental agreement.[29]

In June 2013, the project was chosen as a route for gas from Shah Deniz II over the competing Nabucco West project.[30] Later in 2013, BP, SOCAR, Total, and Fluxys became shareholders of the project.[31]

In December 2015, Snam joined TAP, acquiring Statoil’s 20% interest in the project.[32]

The pipeline starts at the Greece–Turkey border at Kipoi, Evros, where it will be connected with the Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline. It will cross Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea and come ashore in Italy near San Foca. The total length of the pipeline will be 878 kilometres (546 mi), of which 550 kilometres (340 mi) in Greece, 215 kilometres (134 mi) in Albania, 105 kilometres (65 mi) in offshore, and 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) in Italy. The offshore leg will be laid at a maximum depth of 810 metres (2,660 ft).[33]

The initial capacity of the pipeline will be about 10 billion cubic metres (350 billion cubic feet) of natural gas per year, with the option to expand the capacity up to 20 billion cubic metres (710 billion cubic feet).[12] It will use 48-inch (1,200 mm) pipes for pressure of 95 bars (9,500 kPa) on the onshore section and 36-inch (910 mm) pipes for pressure of 145 bars (14,500 kPa) on the offshore section.[34]

TAP also plans to develop an underground natural gas storage facility in Albania and offer a reverse flow possibility of up to 8.5 billion cubic metres (300 billion cubic feet). These features will ensure additional energy security for the Southeastern Europe.[12] It will use 48-inch (1,200 mm) pipes for pressure of 95 bars (9,500 kPa) on the onshore section and 36-inch (910 mm) pipes for pressure of 145 bars (14,500 kPa) on the offshore section.[34]

TAP also plans to develop an underground natural gas storage facility in Albania and offer a reverse flow possibility of up to 8.5 billion cubic metres (300 billion cubic feet). These features will ensure additional energy security for the Southeastern Europe.[35][36]

Total construction costs are expected to be about €4.5 billion.[37] TAP will be ready to commence pipeline operations in time for first gas exports from Shah Deniz II (expected in 2017–2018).[21][38]

The "Interconnector" (IGB) is intended to connect Greece and Bulgaria.[39]

Trans Adriatic Pipeline AG is a joint venture company registered in Baar, canton Zug, Switzerland, with a purpose of planning, developing and building the TAP pipeline. [40] The Managing Director of the company is Luca Schieppati.[41]

Shareholders of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline are BP (20%), SOCAR (20%), Snam (20%), Fluxys (19%), Enagas (16%) and Axpo (5%).[42]

Financing[42]

TAP is estimated to cost around EUR 4.5 billion.[43]

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) considers a USD 1.5 billion loan. "We are considering up to 500 million euros of our own money for TAP plus we will try to arran

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) considers a USD 1.5 billion loan. "We are considering up to 500 million euros of our own money for TAP plus we will try to arrange with other banks up to 1 EUR billion in a syndicated loan," Riccardo Puliti, managing director of energy at the EBRD said.[44]

On 6 February 2018, The European Investment Bank (EIB) voted to hand out EUR 1.5 Billion, one of Europe’s largest ever loans, to one of the EU’s largest fossil fuel projects, the Trans Adriatic Pipeline.[45]

A third of 4.5 billion euro budget has gone into constructing the section within Albania.[46] Pipeline costs were due to construction stoppages related to dove breading seasons, crossing mountains 2,000 metres above sea level and rivers at 19 points on the route including 8 areas of the Seman river.[46] Other costs involved dealing with twice the number of landowners within Albania, unlike in Greece.[46]

There have been incidents of protests by both local citizens and government officials against the Trans Adriatic Pipeline.

In Italy the TAP requires construction of a gas terminal in a historical olive grove in the countryside near the Apulian town of Melendugno. The site presents some century-old olive trees which are to be explanted and transferred to an alternative location in an operation that cannot guarantee the trees' survival. This has been criticised by the local public as well as environmentalists, also in relation to a deadly parasitic disease (Xylella fastidiosa) that has been affecting olive groves in the region for years, and can spread to previously unaffected areas with tree relocation.In Italy the TAP requires construction of a gas terminal in a historical olive grove in the countryside near the Apulian town of Melendugno. The site presents some century-old olive trees which are to be explanted and transferred to an alternative location in an operation that cannot guarantee the trees' survival. This has been criticised by the local public as well as environmentalists, also in relation to a deadly parasitic disease (Xylella fastidiosa) that has been affecting olive groves in the region for years, and can spread to previously unaffected areas with tree relocation.[47]

Furthermore, the pipeline's landing point on the Italian coast is located under the pristine beach of San Foca, a popular destination for beachgoers. Locals and environmentalists have raised safety concerns regarding millions of cubic litres of compressed flammable gas being piped only 10 metres under a beach that will be kept open to the public during the summer months.[48]

Some government officials, such as multiple mayors from the area and the governor of the region of Apulia, also supported the environmentalists' opinion that the pipeline might cause more harm than good and could be an opportunity for local organised crime and corruption to infiltrate public tenders for construction work on the Italian side. They worry especially in relation to a taxpayer-funded 60-kilometre long interconnector which will have to be built to link the TAP's Italian terminal in Melendugno to Italy's national gas network near the industrial port of Brindisi. The Apulia Region governor Michele Emiliano told an Al Jazeera English crew in 2016 that he could not understand why an alternative landing point to San Foca beach, closer to the Brindisi industrial area, was not chosen in spite of lower costs, less severe environmental impact, and proximity to pre-existing gas infrastructure.[48]

In a business event, local mayors left a conference room in Bari when someone[who?] commented on how the TAP will not damage the environment and will increase tourism and agriculture.[49]