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Foreign Ministry announcement on the signing of the Greek-Albanian-Italian Trilateral Intergovernmental Agreement on the construction of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP)

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

The Greek-Italian-Albanian trilateral intergovernmental agreement in support of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) was signed at the Foreign Ministry today, 13 February 2013, in the presence of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

Signing the agreement on behalf of the three states’ governments were Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos, the Deputy Prime Minister and Energy Minister of Albania, Edmond Haxhinasto, and Italian Development Minister Corrado Passera. The signing ceremony was attended by representatives of the government of Azerbaijan, of the TAP Joint Venture and the three companies participating in the joint venture, and of the companies participating in the Shah Deniz II Consortium. High-ranking third-country officials were also in attendance.

This signing was preceded by a meeting of the Greek and Italian Foreign Ministers in Rome, in July 2012, which led to the next stage in the process: the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation by the Foreign Ministers of the three countries, in New York City, on 27 September 2012, in the framework of the UN General Assembly. Subsequently, and following Mr. Avramopoulos’s meeting with the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan, on the margins of the 49th Munich Security Conference, and his contacts with his Italian and Albanian counterparts, the Foreign Minister announced that the signing of the trilateral intergovernmental agreement would take place in Athens, on 13 February.

The Greek government decided to support this particular project in light of the obvious advantages this foreign direct investment will have for employment and growth, for diversification of energy sources, and for the strengthening of energy security in the wider region, which will upgrade Greece as an energy hub in Southeast Europe.

The TAP – 800 km long, with 478 km on Greek territory – was designed to carry, initially, 10 bcm of natural gas annually. The pipeline will originate in the Caspian Sea and, via Turkey, run through northern Greece, enter Albania, and, via an offshore pipeline, reach neighboring Italy.

The TAP is supported by its shareholding companies: Swiss AXPO (42.5%), Norwegian Statoil (42.5%), and German E.ON Ruhrgas (15%).

The Shah Deniz II consortium, which is developing the Shah Deniz gas field in Azerbaijan, is this summer to choose the pipeline that will carry the natural gas to Europe.

The TAP’s comparative advantages (over the competing Nabucco West) are its higher efficiency and performance as a pipeline, its shorter length, its lower construction cost, and the fact that it transits fewer countries.

This direct investment in Greece comes to €1.5 billion and is expected to create 2,000 directly related new jobs and a further 10,000 peripheral new jobs in the Greek market.

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