Georgian PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili attended in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, on Tuesday a groundbreaking ceremony for the 870km Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which is part of the Southern Gas Corridor to supply Azerbaijani gas to Europe.
On the sideline of the ceremony the Georgian PM met his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras.
The Greek PM told his Georgian counterpart that TAP “is a good opportunity to enhance our cooperation.”
The Georgian PM said that the project “creates new dimension for economic cooperation and for the security in the region.”
Works are already underway on expansion of already existing South Caucasus Pipeline (SCP), which transports gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz offshore field to Turkey via Georgia.
The project entails construction of the Trans Anatolian Gas Pipeline (TANAP) across Turkey, which will be linked to planned Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) across Greece, Albania and into Italy, that will allow to transport around 10 billion cubic meters of Azerbaijan gas to Europe by 2020.
Maroš Šefčovič, Vice President of the European Commission for Energy Union, said at the ceremony in Thessaloniki that “the realisation of the Southern Gas Corridor will be a turning point… from the assumption that the Caspian Sea is too far away for the European market to creating an integrated energy infrastructure linking Caspian resources to European consumers.”
He said that the project is “economically viable… and politically beneficial for all parties involved.”
“I can already confirm our interest in scaling-up the Southern Gas Corridor swiftly, including with more gas originating from the Caspian and possibly Central Asia region. In this context, it is important to recall the Ashgabat Declaration signed with Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey in May last year,” Šefčovič said.
Addressing the ceremony in Thessaloniki, the Georgian PM said that his country is “a reliable part of the transit corridor… and an integral part of the southern corridor.”
“We have a great day today as we are inaugurating an important part of one of the largest and most complex projects in the history of energy industry,” PM Kvirikashvili.
“Georgia, as a transit country, reiterates its commitments to the diversification of the energy supplies to Europe and expresses its supports to existing and future energy projects connected to the Southern Gas Corridor,” he added.
In Thessaloniki the Georgian PM also met U.S. special envoy and coordinator for international energy affairs Amos Hochstein.
Hochstein said at the ceremony that completing the Southern Gas Corridor “must continue to be a top priority as we seek to achieve true diversification and energy security throughout Europe.”