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TAP Gas Pipeline Ready To Expand Capacity Ahead Of Schedule

The Trans-Adriatic Pipeline could expand its capacity a year ahead of schedule, the managing director of the project, Luca Schieppati, told Italian media as quoted by Reuters this week.

TAP is the final leg of the Southern Gas Corridor that carries natural gas from the Shah Deniz gas field in the Azeri section of the Caspian Sea. It connects Greece to Italy. The current annual capacity of the pipeline is 10 billion cubic meters.

Of this, the bulk of it, or 8 billion cubic meters goes to Italy, with another 1 billion cubic meters going to Greece and Bulgaria each. The capacity could be expanded to carry natural gas to other European countries as well. For comparison, in 2020, Russia's Gazprom supplied a total of 174.9 billion cubic meters of natural gas to European countries.

"We offered to the market to speed up the timings... We are willing to expand our capacity one year in advance, also because we already have the go ahead of the regulatory authorities," Schieppati told Italian daily Il Messaggero.

The Southern Gas Corridor, a $40-billion project, only started operating at the end of last year. The full initial capacity of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline has been booked for the next 20 years.

Meanwhile, natural gas prices in Europe are rising again, this time fuelled by the rising tensions around Ukraine. Per Natural Gas Intelligence, the TTF benchmark contracts for February and March added almost $5. The jump was supported by reconsideration on the part of two Chinese LNG traders to sell cargoes to Europe.

"LNG markets are still primarily driven by European prices, as the energy crisis storms on, European Union storage levels are at record lows and price volatility has continued due to significant variance in market fundamentals scenarios," Vortexa's head of LNG Felix Booth told Natural Gas Intelligence.

"This market uncertainty is centered around Russian gas supplies to central Europe and the associated geopolitical dimension of the growing tension over Ukraine," he added.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on January 25 2022 said:
    The Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), part of the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) currently brings 9 billion cubic metres (bcm) of Caspian gas to the EU. This volume of gas amounts to almost 5% of Russian gas supplies to the EU. Even if its capacity is doubled to 18 bcm it will amount to 9.73% of Russian annual supplies. Therefore, It will hardly ease the EU’s current energy crisis.

    Europe won’t be out of the energy crisis embroiling it soon. As of January 22, the volume of natural gas in European underground storage facilities stood at 14.9 bcm or 26% of a storage capacity.

    Moreover, the EU’s energy crisis could get far worse than now if geopolitical tensions over Ukraine lead to sanctions against Russia and a complete halt of Russian gas supplies including a suspension of all supplies via Ukraine. This would lead to doubling of gas prices from current levels.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London

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