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Greece Starts TAP Pipeline Construction, Entertains Energy Hub Dreams

Greece has officially started construction on its 550-kilometer section of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), hailing the event as a lifeline for the flailing economy, a major step towards energy security and an instant employment booster.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony held in Thessaloniki on Tuesday, Greek PM Alexis Tsipras outlined the main benefits the gas project will have for the national economy.

“TAP is one of the greatest direct foreign investment projects carried out in Greece. The Greek economy really needs these jobs,” he said, referring to the 8,000 jobs the 1.5 billion Euro investment will create in the country alone.

Related: Can Oil Prices Hold Onto Gains At $50 Per Barrel?

TAP, which is set to become operational in 2019, will ship gas from Azerbaijan’s sprawling Shah Deniz 2 field up to Georgia, through Turkey, continuing on through Greece and Albania, and terminating in southern Italy.

The pipeline will be 870 kilometers, with its specific starting point in Komotini, Greece—at the Turkish border—and its end point in Puglia, Italy.

TAP will take over gas shipments from Turkey-operated, 1,850-kilometer Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP).

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At the launch ceremony, Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Berat Albayrak labeled TAP and TANAP as success stories. "The Turkish government will continue to be in full support of both projects," he said, emphasizing both projects are planned to be expanded in the future as part of what is called the Southern Gas Corridor designed to enhance competition, resource variability and energy security.

TAP will have an initial annual capacity of 10 billion cubic meters, meeting needs of about 7 million households. The pipeline will play a major role in the European energy landscape, officials in Brussels also highlighted. “Once completed, TAP will be a major asset in the European energy security tool box,” said European Union Vice-President Maros Sefcovic, who was also present at the ceremony.

“By opening up access to gas from Azerbaijan, the TAP will allow many countries, including Central and South East Europe to diversify their sources of gas,” he added.

By James Burgess of Oilprice.com

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