Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras arrives to address a ceremony inaugurating the construction of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) in Thessaloniki on May 17, 2016 (SAKIS MITROLIDIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras arrives to address a ceremony inaugurating the construction of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) in Thessaloniki on May 17, 2016 (SAKIS MITROLIDIS/AFP/Getty Images)

The test will take several months and actually means the start of the gradual commissioning of TAP, with the Greek section of the 878-kilometer TAP being the longest and the first in the EU, whose countries expect the first Azerbaijani gas in the fourth quarter of 2020.

The tests will establish how much the Greek TAP site worth more than 1.5 billion euros is safe and ready for operation in accordance with national and international standards accepted in the EU.

Earlier, during the construction period of the Greek TAP section, pipe welds were subjected to ultrasonic testing. The pipeline was also filled with high pressure water in order to identify possible problems.

The start of testing of the Greek TAP link will actually follow after the official ceremony of the completion of the TANAP project, planned by the Turkish leadership on November 30, 2019.

Earlier, Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Fatih Donmez said that the Presidents of Turkey and Azerbaijan, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Ilham Aliyev, are scheduled to attend this ceremony on November 30.

Recall that the ceremony of putting into operation the first phase of TANAP (from the Georgian-Turkish border to Eskisehir) took place on June 12, 2018, and from June 30 of the same year, Azerbaijani gas was supplied through TANAP. Test gas injection into the TANAP gas pipeline section from Eskisehir to the Turkish-Greek border began on April 15, 2019 to test its readiness for gas supplies to Europe and took three months.

Note that the initial throughput of TAP is 10 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas per year in accordance with the 25-year contracts signed in 2013 between 9 European companies, SOCAR and the Shah Deniz consortium, and TANAP - 16 bcm, as at its peak, Turkey will select 6 bcm of gas a year from SGC to supply its western regions.

In the future, the capacity of TAP can be increased to 24 bcm of gas per year, and TANAP - up to 31 bcm.

In 2018, 916.4 million cubic meters of gas was transported via TANAP, and by the end of 2019, a volume of 3 bcm is expected.

The TANAP gas pipeline will cover 12% of Turkey’s gas needs.

TANAP shareholders are: SOCAR (51%), SOCAR Turkiye Enerji (7%), BOTAS (30%), and BP (12%). Over 15 years of operation of this pipeline, it will bring TANAP shareholders $ 1.45 billion in annual revenues in total, of which 58% will fall to Azerbaijan.

As for Europe, SGC will help it diversify its gas supply sources by reducing its dependence on the Russian Federation.

"The TAP project is of particular geopolitical and economic importance for Greece, as it contributes to the transformation of Greece into a regional energy center, adds a new source of supply to both the Greek and European natural gas markets, and is also one of the largest foreign investments in Greece with significant added value, because construction materials, contractors, and the vast majority of workers at TAP were Greek," said the Greek representative of TAP.

Work on the 215 km TAP Albanian site is nearing completion. And before the summer, the completion of work is expected on a 105 km stretch across the Adriatic Sea and an 8 km stretch across Italy.

The shareholders of the TAP project are: BP (20%), SOCAR (20%), Snam (20%), Fluxys (19%), Enagas (16%) and Axpo (5%).

In 2020, TAP will also be connected to the Bulgarian gas infrastructure (IGB project - Interconnector Greece Bulgaria).

The last necessary agreements for this were signed in October 2019 in Sofia by the Minister of the Environment and Energy of Greece, Kostas Hatsidakis, and his Bulgarian counterpart, the Minister of Energy of Bulgaria, Temenuzhka Petkova.

The EU believes that TAP with a total value of about 4.5 billion euros will add another source of gas to the European market (except for Gazprom gas and LNG from Africa and the USA), which is positive for competition in this market, increases the reliability of deliveries to this region of "blue fuel" (taking into account the presence of a number of problems for the Russian Federation with transit via Ukraine, as well as for Nord Stream-2).

Recall that TAP and a number of European companies have already begun research on increasing the capacity of SGC, which means that Europe is interested in long-term purchases from Azerbaijan, which has gas reserves of 3-4 trillion cubic meters of gas.




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