Greece OKs major natural gas pipeline to Europe

The Trans-Adriatic Pipeline, which will carry natural gas from the resource-rich Caspian basin in Azerbaijan to Western Europe, cleared an important hurdle this week. The Greek Parliament voted to grant the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline access through Greek territory.

Petros Giannakouris/AP/File
The illuminated Greek Parliament building is reflected on a rain-soaked pavement as a couple wait to cross a street in Athens. The decision by the Greek government to grant passage to the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline was more about economic development rather than energy security, Cunningham writes.

The Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) cleared an important hurdle on December 2nd when the Greek Parliament ratified a host agreement to allow access through Greek territory. The move was important for the pipeline, keeping the project on track to begin construction in 2015.

TAP will carry natural gas from the resource-rich Caspian basin in Azerbaijan to Western Europe. First, the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) will take the gas from Azerbaijan through Georgia and Turkey. TAP will pick up from there, carrying the gas through Greece, Albania and under the Adriatic, then terminating in Italy. An estimated 16 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas will be piped from the Shah Deniz, one of the largest gas fields in the world. Of that total, the pipeline will deliver 6 bcm to Turkey, and the remaining 10 bcm to markets Europe. (Related article: New Study Finds Higher Methane Emissions from Fracking)

The construction of TAP will bring a conclusion to the political jockeying over the “Southern Corridor.” The European Union relies on Russia for 34% of its natural gas imports, and with Russia showing a fondness for cutting off gas supplies when it wants to prove a point, the EU for years has sought supply diversity. This led European policymakers to push for a pipeline from the Caspian, originally in the form of the Nabucco pipeline, which would have run through Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, and terminating in Austria. 

Both Nabucco and TAP served the purpose of cutting out Russia’s plan of building a pipeline underneath the Black Sea. Although the economics were dubious, Russia pushed the “South Stream” project as a way to maintain its grip over European energy. Nabucco’s route overland through Eastern and Central Europe, however, proved to be too expensive as well. On June 28, 2013, the BP-led Shah Deniz consortium selected TAP as its choice to carry Caspian gas to the West. (Related article: Will Rail Become the Next Target of Oil Protests?)

Connecting the Southern Corridor will also mark the realization of a major goal of the U.S. Government, which has long-supported the extraction of Azeri oil and gas as a means to improve European and American energy security. The State Department issued a “congratulations” to Azerbaijan and the Shah Deniz consortium after the selection of TAP. The U.S. government did not have a preference between Nabucco and TAP; it just wants to see some pipeline built that cuts out Russia.  

The decision by the Greek government was more about economic development rather than energy security. With the economic crisis in Greece, TAP promises the added benefit of funneling billions of Euros from transit fees into the Greek economy. In support of TAP, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said in March 2013, “This is the largest project undertaken in southern Europe … it will bring foreign investment of more than 1.5 billion euros to Greece.” TAP still needs approval from the government of Italy, to which it submitted an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment in September 2013.

Construction is slated for 2015, and the 4,000 kilometer pipeline will make its first deliveries to Turkey in 2018 and to the rest of Europe in 2019.

Original article: http://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Trans-Adriatic-Pipeline-Takes-Step-Forward.html

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.