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TAP regulatory authorities prolong validity of pipeline’s exemption from EU gas directive provisions

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Trend: The regulatory authorities in TAP’s host countries – Greece, Italy and Albania – have released a joint opinion, prolonging the validity period of TAP’s exemption from certain provisions of the EU Gas Directive.

TAP’s exemption has been updated in line with the planned commencement date of Shah Deniz Phase 2 gas exports to Europe, now expected in 2020. This enables TAP to be fully aligned with upstream developments in the Southern Gas Corridor value chain.

The updated joint opinion follows the approval of the European Commission as well as a positive opinion by the Energy Community Secretariat. The joint opinion has been implemented in TAP’s host countries via national decisions.

In 2013, TAP secured an exemption from certain provisions of the EU Gas Directive [2009/73/EC], including a third party access exemption for the initial capacity of 10 billion cubic meters annually (bcm/a) for gas volumes from Azerbaijan supplied under the relevant Shah Deniz gas sales agreements over a period of 25 years.

Lutz Landwehr, TAP’s Commercial Director, said: “TAP continues to comply with all the conditions set out in the exemption decision, as well as European regulation to which our project is subject. According to the requirements for major new pieces of gas infrastructure securing exemption decisions, TAP will enhance competition of gas supply as well as boost security of supply in several European markets.”

TAP is a part of the huge Southern Gas Corridor project, which envisages transportation of gas from the Caspian region through Georgia and Turkey to Europe.

The approximately 870 km-long pipeline will connect with the Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) near the Turkish-Greek border at Kipoi, cross Greece and Albania and the Adriatic Sea, before coming ashore in Southern Italy.

The initial capacity of TAP will be 10 billion cubic meters per year, but it can easily be expanded to 20 billion cubic meters per year as the new volumes of gas come on stream.

TAP’s shareholding is comprised of BP (20 percent), SOCAR (20 percent), Statoil (20 percent), Fluxys (19 percent), Enagás (16 percent) and Axpo (five percent). Construction of TAP is planned to begin in 2016.