(Greece) – Prime Minister Alex Tsipras has said that the new TransAdriatic Pipeline, or TAP for short, turns Greece into an important energy hub that will help release the region’s dependence on Russia for its energy. Alex Tsipras inaugurated construction of the pipeline in Thessaloniki, which is located in Northern Greece, on Tuesday. Representatives from the United States State Department, the European Union, as well as officials from Greece, Albania, Italy, Bulgaria, and Turkey were all in attendance.
The goal of the TAP pipeline is to transport gas from the Southern Gas Corridor in Azerbaijan and ultimately transport it to European markets such as those in the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, and Australia. Currently, Russia is the main provider of natural gas to these areas and the pipeline is expected to alleviate that. The Southern Gas Corridor is a complex gas value chain that has resources stretching for over 2000 miles. The pipeline is expected to be complete sometime in 2020 with the first delivery happening shortly after that. The gas is expected to be extracted from Azerbaijan and transported through Greece and Albania and into the European markets.
This project has been funded by massive foreign investments and at $45 billion, it is easily the biggest foreign investment that has ever taken place in Greece. Since much of the pipeline stretches through Greece, it is expected to help the struggling Greek economy by creating jobs for approximately 8000 workers. All told, construction of the pipeline will involve at least 150 Greek companies, contractors and sub contractors.
Panos Skouletis, the Greek Minister of Environment and Energy told the Athens News Agency that, “”We are entering into a new phase for the economy. The TAP project will offer a strong boost to move forward.” Alex Tsipras, Greece’s Prime Minister, said during the inauguration that, “The energy map of south-east Europe is being redefined and this turns Greece into an energy hub of the region.” TAP will have an initial capacity of around 10 billion cubic meters of gas per ear, which is exactly how much is needed to provide energy for seven million European households.