Albania is seeking support from the European Union and the US to implement the regional Ionian Adriatic Pipeline (IAP) gas project, the energy ministry said on September 8.
The construction of the pipeline would enable the gasification of Albania and Montenegro, as well as the expansion of the gas sector in southern Croatia and Bosnia, providing a diversified and reliable supply of natural gas.
If built, the pipeline will run from Fier in Albania through Montenegro and Bosnia & Herzegovina to Split in Croatia. The IAP would be connected with the planned Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) in Fier. The capacity of IAP pipeline is set at 5bn cubic metres (cm) per year, of which 1bn cm would be for Albania, 0.5bn cm for Montenegro, 1bn cm for Bosnia and 2.5bn cm for Croatia.
Albanian Energy Minister Damian Gjiknuri stated that Albania has drafted its Gas Master Plan and has built a fruitful cooperation with Montenegro, Bosnia and Croatia as well as with the EU’s Energy Community for the implementation of the project, the energy ministry said in the statement.
The statement was released following the fourth preliminary meeting of the project management union for IAP, held in Tirana, in which representatives from the participating countries as well as the US and EU took part.
“The TAP project is really the main pillar to support the development of the gas sector in Albania, but the IAP pipeline project, an extension of TAP, will also have a primary role,” Gjiknuri said.
The TAP is currently the most important infrastructure project in the Southern Balkans. It will carry Caspian gas from the Greek-Turkish border via Greece and Albania to Italy. The first gas exports from Azerbaijan to Georgia and Turkey are expected in late 2018, while the first deliveries to Europe will follow in early 2020.
“We are pointing out that three of the IAP countries are Nato member countries and this makes the IAP project much more needed in terms of strategic interests in the region,” the minister said referring to Croatia, Albania and Montenegro.
In February 2017, the EU granted €2.5mn to Montenegro and Albania to prepare a joint project for the construction of the IAP.
The IAP gas pipeline will have a length of 511km. Total investment costs are estimated at €618mn.
According to the feasibility study, the length of the IAP project in Albania and Montenegro is about 162 km, while the total investment is estimated at about €288mn.
The IAP project will contribute to gasification in Kosovo too, through the planned ALKOGAP pipeline project between Albania and Kosovo.
In August 2016, Montenegro, Albania and Croatia signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Azerbaijani state-owned oil company Socar on the project to build IAP.