Construction of the Greek section of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline natural gas pipeline is proceeding rapidly, with the aim of completing the project within the foreseen timetable, that is within 2018.
According to Katerina Papalexandri, the project manager for Greece, the construction from Evros Gardens to the Greek-Albanian borders in Kristalopigi, Kastoria, will have been completed by November 2018.
After that, the testing period is expected sometime by mid-2019, a moment when hydrocarbons will become part of the project, and in 2020 the TAP pipeline will be ready for commercial operation.
The pipeline will initially transfer 10 billion cubic meters of gas a year, from the Shah Deniz deposit in Azerbaijan to Europe, with a potential for doubling the capacity to 20 billion cubic meters, while it will be connected with the Greek gas system at three spots (in Pella, Kastoria and Kozani).
It remains to be seen if the pipeline will cross the region of Kavala, where about 11 km of the pipeline route have caused reactions from locals. Although the company proposed to refer the matter to arbitration but the other side rejected it.
Ms Papalexandri, however, stressed that she remains open to dialogue with a view to completing the project within the deadline.
As stated by the Minister of Environment and Energy, Giorgos Stathakis, following the presentation of the Greek Chamber of Engineers' study to the respondents, according to which there is no danger to the region, there is no longer any room for continuing the discussion of a change of course as the the project will normally be completed on the basis of the planned outline following the modification made by the consortium at the initial stage of the consultation.
It is worth mentioning that the problem at Tenagi Philippon has to do with the realisation of the pipeline in a section of 11 km, just one kilometre from the total of 550 km that have been built or are currently being constructed on Greek territory. Work on the disputed 10 km section was scheduled to start in autumn 2016 but is still pending...
In general, 367 Greek companies have signed a joint venture agreement with the joint venture.
The pipeline passes through 13 peripheral units and 140 communities in Northern Greece, while it has 23 total valves through which the flow will be interrupted in order to carry out maintenance work per section of the pipeline.
The representatives of the consortium stressed that the project is being built with strict standards regarding environmental protection, soil rehabilitation and maximisation of benefits for local communities.
When land restoration is completed, the land is returned to its owner, a process that has been completed for about 50% of the pipeline. Finally, as noted, the gas compression station in Feres, in the Prefecture of Evros will also "feed" the district's teleheating network.