Macedonia seeks to join TAP gas project

Macedonia seeks to join TAP gas project
By bne IntelliNews November 6, 2016

Macedonia is seeking to be part of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) project that will transport Azerbaijani gas to Europe, via Greece and Albania, Macedonian Energy Resources (MER), a state-owned company which develops gasification projects in Macedonia, said on November 4. 

This and other potential new gas projects will enable Macedonia, which currently receives natural gas via Bulgaria, to diversify the supply of natural gas from multiple sources, such as from Russian and Azerbaijani gas projects, which will lead to lower gas import prices.

The idea of joining TAP emerged after MER signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Greece’s gas transmission system operator Desfa on the construction of a gas link between the two countries, which is expected to enable a connection for Macedonia with the TAP project, as well as the Turkish Stream pipeline. 

“We have sent a request to join the TAP project and we certainly expect to receive a positive answer in the upcoming period,” MER said in a short notice emailed to bne Intellinews on November 4.

TAP is the European leg of the Southern Gas Corridor, which aims to connect the EU market to new gas sources. With an initial capacity of 10bn cubic metres of gas per year, the 870km long pipeline will transport gas from the Shah Deniz II field in Azerbaijan to the EU market from 2020. It is one of the major investment projects in Albania, where it is expected to be a main driver of the country’s GDP growth in the coming years.

The TAP route through Albania is approximately 215km onshore and 37km offshore in the Albanian section of the Adriatic Sea, while the length of the pipeline in Greece is approximately 550km.

So far over 50% of steel pipes needed for construction of the project have been delivered in Greece and Albania and by mid-October 12.5% of the route of the TAP route had been cleared in both countries.

TAP’s shareholders are BP (20%), SOCAR (20%), Snam S.p.A. (20%), Fluxys (19%), Enagás (16%) and Axpo (5%).

The Turkish Stream gas project will transport Russian gas to Turkey and southern Europe via Greece and is expected to be operational by the end of 2019. The project was announced in December 2014 by Russian president Vladimir Putin as a proposal to replace the cancelled South Stream project.

Meanwhile, Macedonia is undertaking a major gasification project to build a gas infrastructure network throughout the country, with an estimated cost of €300mn.

The project is partly financed by Russia, through a $60mn debt settlement deal as part of repayment of outstanding debt of the former Soviet Union to ex-Yugoslavia.

Currently, Macedonia is building the second leg of the network, the 36 km Stip-Negotino gas pipeline section, worth around €16mn.

The Stip-Negotino section will be connected with the Klecovce-Stip section, the first part of the project, completed at the end of July. Russian company Stroytransgaz was involved in the construction of the Klecovce-Stip section.

The construction of the Negotino-Prilep-Bitola section in central Macedonia and the Skopje-Tetovo-Gostivar section in the northwestern part of the country are due to begin soon. 

 

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