The pipeline is the European leg of the Southern Gas Corridor, a complex value chain of energy projects that links natural gas supplies from the second development stage of the Shah Deniz field in Azerbaijan to Europe.
Natural gas demand in Europe
Europe needs new sources of gas to meet its long-term energy demand, replace its own declining energy production, fuel economic growth and diversify energy supply.
Natural gas is expected to play an increasingly important role in the European energy mix for decades to come. As the cleanest fossil fuel, it has clear environmental advantages over other energy sources such as coal and oil. Also, it provides an important and flexible energy option in conjunction with renewable energy.
The proven energy resources in the Caspian present an enormous opportunity for Europe to meet its energy challenges.
With economic growth generating increasing energy demand, and a collective aspiration for EU membership, South East Europe will also need a more environmentally balanced energy portfolio that includes gas.
Diversity and security of energy supply for Europe
With gas supply routes already connecting European markets to supplies in Russia, Africa and the North Sea, the new energy corridor from the Caspian will ensure a diversity of gas supply and reduce the risk of over-reliance on a single energy source. It will help to open a new transportation route and provide a new source of gas for Europe.
Many countries in South East Europe are solely dependent on a single source for their gas, leaving them extremely vulnerable to disruptions in supply and uncompetitive pricing. Some other countries in the region, like Albania, are not even on the gas grid. They rely on coal and oil to meet their energy needs.
TAP will pave the way for new sources of energy to enter these markets and promote development of their energy sectors.
Recognising its crucial contribution to the strategic goal of enhancing Europe’s energy security and diversity, the European Commission and the United States government both support construction of TAP. Read more: the EU Status.
The integration and diversification of the EU’s gas supply is not just a strategic policy objective, however. By improving the liquidity and competitiveness of European energy markets, TAP could also ensure a better deal for both energy producers and consumers alike.
Host countries support
The economic and strategic benefits of TAP are also important at a national level in the countries through which the pipeline will pass.
Greece, Albania and Italy signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) in support of TAP in February 2013 and continue to cooperate fully with the project.
In addition, TAP has other relevant national agreements in place such as host government agreements (HGAs) with Greece and Albania, positive opinion on the third party access exemption (TPA) by national energy regulators, and Environmental and Social Impact Assessments (approved in Albania, Greece and Italy).
In addition to the stimulus to their economic development that new energy supplies will bring, construction of the pipeline will attract considerable foreign investment to TAP’s host countries.
Independent experts estimate that new jobs will be created in these countries, directly by TAP’s contractors and indirectly through so-called "spillover" effects in manufacturing, utilities, transport, communications, financial and business services. Host countries will also enjoy enhanced status as regional gateways and hubs on the European energy map. Read more: Opportunities for TAP's host countries.
At a regional level, TAP will also help realise the European Union’s objective of supplying gas to South East Europe. The Shah Deniz Consortium signed gas sales agreements in September 2013 with buyers in Europe, including energy companies in Greece and Bulgaria.
Acknowledging the boost this would give to their economic and social development, the governments of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Montenegro signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in support of TAP in May 2013.
The same countries also agreed to support the proposed Ionian Adriatic Pipeline, which is planned to connect with TAP in Albania, making that country the gateway for Caspian gas to enter the West Balkans. Other energy markets in the region, such as Bulgaria, Slovenia, Hungary, Serbia and FYROM, could also benefit from TAP. Read more