Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras yesterday joined other senior officials at a ground-breaking ceremony to mark the start of work on the 870km Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), the westernmost link in the Southern Gas Corridor, the $45bn mega-project that will eventually supply natural gas from the Caspian Sea to Europe and reduce EU member states’ reliance on Russian imports.
The Southern Gas Corridor is central part to the EU’s efforts to diversify energy supply sources and bring gas from new regions. The start of work on TAP follows years of efforts to find a commercially viable project to bring gas across the Caucasus and Turkey, after the earlier so-called Nabucco plan foundered.
Brussels has been keen to promote a European project involving new gas to compete with Russian-backed proposals for alternative routes to supply Russian gas — including the controversial Nord Stream 2 under the Baltic Sea to Germany.
The first gas is expected to arrive in Turkey in 2019 and the EU in 2020.