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Greece sees TAP as major investment, significant geopolitical tool

Greece sees TAP as major investment, significant geopolitical tool Energy

The Trans-Adriatic Pipeline, a part of the Azerbaijan-initiated giant Southern Gas Corridor, is not just a major investment for Greece, but also a significant geopolitical tool for this country.

Such a remark was made by TAP's country Manager for Greece, Rikard Skoufias at an international conference titled "Energy market: unlocking Greece’s economic potential" in Athens on March 22, Natural Gas Europe reported.

He informed the conference participants that there were no clouds on the horizon for the project and that cooperation with Athens is smooth and steady in all aspects.

"Already 150 Greek companies have been selected as prospective suppliers for works on the pipeline," he added.

William Silkworth, an official of the U.S. Department of State, strongly backed TAP and IGB, while was equally strident in his criticism of some other pipeline projects.

Silkworth emphasized that diversification is a key aspect of the U.S. foreign policy and lies also in the core interests of the European Union.

He further added that the Nord Stream 2 and Turkish Stream are not projects that could assure energy security for the EU.

Silkworth believes that such projects are more of an attempt by the Russian side to keep a grip of its dominance in the EU markets.

Michalis Verroiopoulos, the Secretary General for Energy and Mineral Resources for the Greek Ministry of Environment and Energy also named diversification as a priority. He stressed how important it was for Greece to open up its market and to link it to a variety of energy projects in the wider region.

He mentioned that major initiatives will be set up regarding the TAP and the IGB projects; the proposed LNG terminal in the city of Alexandroupolis; and the EuroAsia Interconnector electricity high voltage line, which will link the electrical systems of Israel, Cyprus and Greece.

Greece, a Southern European nation with economic difficulties, has repeatedly expressed a desire to get Azerbaijani gas as soon as possible and assured to have necessary infrastructure for supply of Caspian blue fuel via the multi-billion Southern Gas Corridor.

Officials believe that the smooth implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor project is very important for the development of energy cooperation between Greece and Azerbaijan.

The Southern Gas Corridor project envisages the transportation of the gas to be extracted from the giant Shah Deniz field in the Azerbaijani section of the Caspian Sea. Shah Deniz Stage 2 gas will make a 3,500 kilometer journey from the Caspian Sea into Europe. This requires upgrading the existing infrastructure and the development of a chain of new pipelines.

The existing South Caucasus Pipeline will be expanded with a new parallel pipeline across Azerbaijan and Georgia, while the Trans-Anatolian pipeline will transport Shah Deniz gas across Turkey to join TAP, which will take gas through Greece and Albania into Italy.

The Southern Gas Corridor is set to change the energy map of the entire region, connecting gas supplies in the Caspian to markets in Europe for the very first time.

The first gas supplies through the corridor to Georgia and Turkey are given a target date of late 2018. Gas deliveries to Europe are expected just over a year after the first gas is produced offshore in Azerbaijan.

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