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385 words - February 16, 2013 | © DiploNews, all rights reserved.
The governments of Greece, Italy and Albania have signed a trilateral intergovernmental agreement (IGA) that solidifies the forward development, construction and operation of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP).
Signing the agreement on behalf of the three states' governments were Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos, the Deputy Prime Minister and Energy Minister of Albania, Edmond Haxhinasto, and Italian Development Minister Corrado Passera. Were also attending representatives of the Azerbaijani government, representatives of the three companies – Axpo (Switzerland), Statoil (Norway), and E.ON Ruhrgas (Germany) – taking part in the TAP AG joint venture, and representatives of the companies involved in the Shah Deniz II Consortium.
"This agreement between TAP's host countries lays the strong foundation and long term security that is required to move the project forward towards selection and construction," said Kjetil Tungland, TAP's Managing Director. "This concludes the last remaining high level international political agreement," added Michael Hoffmann, TAP's External Affairs Director. A week ago, Albanian Foreign Minister Edmond Panariti stated that it will create a new perspective for the economic development of Albania and the region.
Taking into account two main facts which are that energy security has become one of the greatest challenges we are facing today and that the new global energy landscape has been changing rapidly notably due to a sharp rise in demand for energy, the TAP is of strategic importance, explained Mr Avramopoulos. It will give Greece a EUR 1.5 billion potential of foreign direct investments plus a geostrategic position on the energy map, building a bridge between the Caspian basin and Europe, the Greek official explained.
According to the official website of the TAP project, the pipeline will carry natural gas from Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz II deposit via Greece and Albania and across the Adriatic Sea to southern Italy and further into Western Europe. "The project is aimed at enhancing security of supply as well as diversification of gas supplies for the European markets," it reads. "TAP will open a new so-called Southern Gas Corridor to Europe and establish a new market outlet for natural gas from the Caspian Sea."
More TAP-related developments may happen when Greek business mission visits Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan, on March 6-8, headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Kourkoulas.
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