The ceremony held at the TAP construction site, where the boring of the micro-tunnel will commence, was attended by the Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Energy, Enis Aliko; the Mayor of Skrapari, Nesim Spahiu; TAP Project Manager for Albania, Karl Roberts; Spiecapag Project Manager, Guillaume Batut; Bessac Project Manager for Çorovoda micro-tunnels, Dylan Mognol, and other representatives of the energy sector in Albania.
Skrapar’s landscape poses many challenges to the pipeline construction, given the mountainous heights, the geological composition and the difficult terrain with numerous steep slopes. The micro-tunnel will enable the pipeline to bypass the Osumi River and a new road. It is the safest and most environmentally friendly option for crossing this challenging mountainous segment.
The Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Energy, Enis Aliko, stressed the importance of the TAP project for the Albanian economy: “It is the first time that this kind of operations and techniques are executed in Albania, part of an important project such as TAP. Moreover, I would like to congratulate TAP on the safety standards applied during the construction of the pipeline.”
TAP Project Manager for Albania, Karl Roberts, stated: “TAP is a key project part of the Southern Gas Corridor, enabling the future gasification of the Western Balkans and bringing a new source of gas to Europe. The micro-tunnel will be constructed using state-of-the-art technology with minimal human intervention, making it the safest method for the environment.”
In his welcoming speech, Spiecapag Project Manager Guillaume Batut, said: “So far, with the support of the Albanian Government and all the Municipalities along the TAP route we have managed to overcome all challenges. I have no doubt that with the same support for TAP, Spiecapag and Bessac will successfully complete the micro-tunnel project.”
The Mayor of Skrapari, Nesim Spahiu, mentioned the importance of TAP investments for the region: “TAP is one of the most important investments in Albania and for the Skrapari region. It has an enormous contribution, especially for road infrastructure, employment and social and environmental investments. The Skrapari Municipality has a very good relationship with TAP and TAP’s contractors, always finding solutions for the local community.”
The micro-tunnel will be comprised of a 560-metre East tunnel and a 600-metre West tunnel and it will have a 1.8 meter diameter. The construction works for the micro-tunnel are expected to last approximately four months and about 50 more new jobs will be created locally.
The tunnel boring industry tradition requires that every tunnel boring machine is given a name. Thus, TAP decided to name the boring machine “Karl Gega”, in honour of one of the most renowned infrastructure and transport engineers in Europe.
Key Facts and Figures about TAP’s Micro-Tunnel in Çorovoda
- Overall length of the micro-tunnel is approximately 1.5 km.
- Length of East tunnel is 560 metres.
- Length of West tunnel is 600 metres.
- Internal tunnel diameter: 1.8 metres (1,800 mm).
- The geology of the terrain is mainly rock (Flysch).
- Construction works will last approximately 4 months (2 months of excavation for each tunnel), and will be arranged around 24h work shifts.
- Local employment: approximately 50 workers from Çorovoda.
Micro-Tunnel Boring Machine (MTBM)
- Name of the MTBM: “Karl Gega”.
- Type of MTB Machine: slurry MTBM.
- Excavation diameter: 2.2 meters (2,225 mm).
- Total weight of the Micro-Tunnel Boring Machine: 74 tonnes.
- Total length of the Micro-Tunnel Boring Machine: 12.5 metres.
- Jacking force: 1,400 tonnes.