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PM Samaras: Shah Deniz choice of TAP pipeline 'will bring over 1.5 billion euros to Greece'

PM Samaras

The choice of the Trans-Atlantic Pipeline (TAP) by the Shah Deniz II consortium to carry natural gas from Azerbaijan to Europe through Greece is a “massive project, one of the largest projects in Europe the last twenty years,” Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said on Friday in Brussels, hailing the consortium’s official confirmation.

Samaras, who is in Brussels for a European Council meeting, hailed the decision on the TAP pipeline – which will go through northern Greece and Albania, crossing under the Adriatic Sea before ending in Italy – as “the most important positive economic development for Greece in the last decade and a lever to help us exit the crisis faster.”

“The largest project undertaken in Southern Europe,” he explained, “would bring a foreign investment of over 1.5 billion euros to Greece.”

In describing its significance, the PM pointed out that the government promoted TAP over another alternative which would bypass Greece to end up in Central Europe, and won the project in record time.

This project will firmly place Greece on the pipeline and energy supply map of Europe, which comprises a very important “vote of confidence” to Greece and its prospects in Europe, he said. “Following the TAP announcement, all theories of Greece’s economic destruction and exit from the eurozone are finally put to rest,” Samaras said, and noted that “one of the largest companies of the world would not invest so much money in a financially, socially and politically dangerous country.’

Also, he said, within the next few years the project would create 2,000 immediate openings and another 10,000 openings in companies supporting it. “All this without burdening the public sector,” the prime minister said, “significantly supporting the country’s economy which is being severely tested by a record unemployment.”

TAP will “bring important tax revenues to Greece, and to the local economies of the areas it will pass through, including every piece of land owned by Greeks it will go through,” Samaras said, while adding that “environmental repercussions on areas it passes through will be minimal.”

Greece “will also benefit indirectly from the fact it will not have to depend on a single natural gas distributor,” Samaras said, “so a path opens to more and cheaper energy, especially friendly to the environment.”

The PM also noted that the country’s geopolitical importance will rise sharply in the Balkans and Europe generally as Balkan countries will be able to be supplied with natural gas from TAP in a future stage.

Finally, Samaras said, a major point to be made is that the pipeline will initially convey 10 billion cubic meters of natural gas, a capacity that can be doubled in the future at little further investment cost.

Europe has been trying to diversify its energy sources for the past twenty years, Samaras said, so this project makes Greece central to energy security and improved prices and turns the country into an energy hub, able to attract new investments.

It also makes it imperative for Europe to support its member-states more, to help them develop their own natural resources, which Greece is rich in, he added, turning the country into a producer and exporter of energy.

“The submission of application for TAP’s construction was something appearing initially difficult, but we made a strategic decision, promoted it discreetly, worked on it methodically, and finally succeeded,” Samaras said.

The official announcement for TAP’s construction is and build a Greece that is stronger and more competitive, he said, adding that “additional good news are expected shortly.”

Shah Deniz choice of Trans-Adriatic Pipeline 'makes this a special day', deputy minister

"This is a special day," Deputy Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Assimakis Papageorgiou told Parliament on Friday, "because the Shah Deniz II consortium in Baku will announce, if it has not done so already, its final choice of the Trans-Atlantic Pipeline (TAP) system as the preferred conveyor of natural gas from Azerbaijan to Europe."

The Shah Deniz II consortium consists of BP (UK), Statoil (Norway), Total (France) and Socar (Azerbaijan). According to press reports on Friday quoting Gordon Birrell, BP's regional President for Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey, the consortium chose TAP over the Nabucco pipeline - consisting of Austrian, Hungarian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Turkish and French interests - which would have bypassed Greece.

On Wednesday, Papageorgiou and Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras were the Greek signatories of the Host Government Agreement with TAP, which will pass through Turkey, Greece and Albania to Italy, with a pipeline section crossing the Adriatic Sea.

At the signing on Wednesday, TAP Managing Director Kjetil Tungland thanked the government for its cooperation and noted the support given by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, the Parliament and the ministries involved and said that the agreement provided a firm foundation for carrying out the 1.5-billion-euro investment for the construction of the Greek portion of the pipeline.

In his comments on Friday, Papageorgiou said that "the development shows that when we function methodically and in an organized fashion we can achieve major things for the country."

Also in Parliament, recognition of the Environment Ministry's role in promoting the project for Greece was expressed by MP Odysseas Konstantinopoulos of PASOK, which shares the rule with New Democracy, and parliamentary vice president Ioannis Tragakis.

Source: Athens News Agency

Last Updated Friday, 28 June 2013
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