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Land easement and acquisition explained

TAP will need to secure access to land along its proposed route so that the pipeline and its associated infrastructure can be built and operated.

This process is known as Land Easement and Acquisition (LEA) and is being conducted in accordance with the international standards of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

The project will affect approximately 19,060 plots of land: 10,170 in Greece, 8,700 in Albania and 190 in Italy. Also, it will affect approximately 45,000 land owners and users.

Please note that these numbers are estimates and will be updated as necessary during the process.

The construction of the TAP pipeline, and its related facilities, will take place in stages / phases and will be influenced by weather conditions and in some cases, seasonal restrictions. The actual intense construction along the pipeline Right-of-Way (ROW) will typically be sequenced to take place over a period of 3 to 6 months. However, overall access to land will be required for a longer period, to allow for continuing ROW access for transportation and other peripheral construction activities and in total, could last between 12 and 24 months, inclusive of the intense construction periods. All land used will be reinstated to at least, its original condition. TAP will pay compensation for the total amount of disturbance time (that is, for the actual disturbance time or for 24 months, whichever is greater), when the land is being used.

Contractors

TAP’s contractors for LEA activities are:

  • ABKons is supporting TAP in securing right of way in Albania.
  • Agilita AG. Provision of IT services for the development of software to support the financial transactions related to compensation payments to persons affected by the TAP project in Greece.
  • Ε. Arvaniti & Associates – E.N.Y. Law Firm & Legal Services Company. Provision of legal services for the implementation of TAP’s LEA process, with the aim to ensure permanent and temporary land access, as well as the acquisition of all necessary land property rights for the construction and operation of TAP in Greece.     
  • ESPRO Progetti provided its expertise, skills and manpower to support TAP LEA team in Italy in performing all activities connected to successfully finalising the private land acquisition process.
  • INFODIM – P. Karamoschos – K. Liodaki & Associates CO. Provision of services for the development of Geographic Information System (GIS) infrastructure to support the TAP LEA process for the construction and operation of TAP in Greece. 
  • J/V TOPMAPS (MTC Makedoniki Technical Company, P. Karamoschos & Associates CO.; Gaia S.A. Meleton; Geomatics S.A.). Provision of technical services for the update of the cadastre in Greece for TAP.
  • J/V MG Values (MTC Makedoniki Technical Company, P. Karamoschos & Associates CO.; Geomatics S.A.). Provision of services for the preparation of a Study of Replacement Values for land and crops. 
  • MTC Makedoniki Technical Company, P. Karamoschos & Associates CO. Provision of technical services for the implementation of the TAP LEA process, with the aim to ensure permanent and temporary land access, as well as the acquisition of all necessary land property rights for the construction and operation of the pipeline in Greece.    
  • QED Ltd. Provision of market research services for the confirmation of fixed assets and households census.
  • Piraeus Bank. Provision of banking services for the execution of financial transactions related to compensation payments to persons affected by TAP in Greece.
  • SPEED Development Consultants S.A. - Provision of consulting services. 

These contractors work closely with a number of local and international companies experienced in land easement and acquisition, and will involve them as sub-contractors for field work on TAP’s behalf in Greece, Albania and Italy.

Important Principles

TAP is conducting all its activities in accordance with international standards, including the project’s Land Easement and Acquisition programme and its associated compensation process.

The principles to which TAP is committed include:

  • Compliance with applicable national legislation and international best practice standards such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) guidelines.
  • Avoiding the resettlement of people whenever possible.
  • Compensation for all project-associated impacts on land, standing crops and structures based on their replacement values.
  • Payment of compensation for land before the start of construction.
  • Consistent application of compensation principles in all host countries along the pipeline route.
  • Commitment to reach agreements with affected land owners and users wherever possible.
  • Expropriation and compulsory easement to be used if attempts at reaching an agreement fail.
  • Vulnerable people identified and assisted as necessary.

Some land will be purchased from its owners for permanent installations, such as compressor stations and block valve stations. Most of the land, however, will be leased by TAP for the duration of construction and for temporary facilities, like camps and pipe yards.

After construction, TAP will need land easements in the pipeline corridor with some restrictions in the safety zones. Thus, most of the land owners whose land will be leased or eased will keep their land ownership.

Main types of land easement and acquisition:

​- Land purchase (acquisition) - TAP buys the land and has full ownership of it.
- Long-term land lease - TAP leases the land for the life-cycle of the pipeline (approximately 50 years).
- Short-term land lease - TAP leases the land for a few months or years, normally for the duration of pipeline construction.
- Land easement (right of way) - TAP does not own the land, but has the right to enter it (for maintenance works, for example) and place certain restrictions on how the land is used for the life-cycle of the pipeline.

Temporary land access

In Greece and Albania, TAP will mostly require temporary access to land within the pipeline corridor, which will be an estimated 38 metres wide. In Italy, the corridor will be approximately 18 metres wide.

So that construction companies can work efficiently and bring in all necessary equipment, TAP will acquire access rights for the whole of the pipeline corridor in each country.

Temporary access to land will also be needed for some temporary facilities, such as pipe yards and construction workers’ camps. Land required on a temporary basis will be leased by TAP for approximately two years and returned to its owners in a fully reinstated condition.

Permanent land access

Project installations above ground, such as compressor stations, block valve stations, and some access roads in Albania, will need permanent land access. This will require TAP to purchase the land from its current owners.

After construction, TAP will also need long-term land easements for the pipeline corridor and safety zones. An easement is the legal right to use another person’s land for a stated purpose, such as access. Again, this will be negotiated with current land owners.

Key steps in the LEA process

Below is a description of the main stages in the LEA process in all TAP host countries. 

Identify those affected by TAP – update land register
During this stage, TAP’s contractors updated existing information on the ownership and use of all land parcels affected by the project so that a detailed and comprehensive record could be established. This official register, showing details of the ownership and boundaries of property, is known as a cadastre.

Census and Asset Inventory (CAI)
During this stage, TAP’s contractors visit affected land owners and users who have been identified to conduct an inventory and inspection of their land parcels, including any standing structures and crops. This field survey typically involves interviews with land owners and/or users along the entire TAP corridor. A surveyor asks questions about the owner and their parcel, and the crops, trees and other assets on it.  A written and photographic record of all assets is then made, to be used in calculating the compensation offer.

Calculating compensation
During this stage, compensation amounts are calculated and presented to those affected. The land access agreements are formalised in a contract with TAP.

Signing land access agreements
Before pipeline construction begins, TAP plans to sign agreements with all land owners and land users affected by the project and pay them agreed compensation.

Meetings with communities
In communities affected by TAP, the project’s subcontractors organised meetings for local people to explain the Land Easement and Acquisition process, the Census and Asset Inventory survey, and the compensation principles. Attendees received communications materials including a brochure explaining the project’s next steps.