Offshore construction begins on Trans Adriatic Pipeline project in Albania

Partners of the €4.5bn Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) have commenced the construction works for the offshore part of the 878km natural gas pipeline in Albania.

The Trans Adriatic Pipeline, which is being laid between the Turkish-Greek border and Italy, will pass through the Adriatic Sea for 105km. It aims to deliver Caspian natural gas from the giant Shah Deniz II field in Azerbaijan to Europe.

The new natural gas pipeline will be linked to the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) at the Turkish-Greek border at Kipoi, from where it will cross Greece and Albania and the Adriatic Sea, before reaching the shores of Southern Italy.

As per the project schedule, the physical offshore pipeline installation is planned to be executed in 2019. Having broken ground in 2016, the Trans Adriatic Pipeline is expected to be commissioned in 2020.

Jointly owned by BP (20%), SOCAR (20%), Snam (20%), Fluxys (19%), Enagás (16%) and Axpo (5%), the new natural gas pipeline has been designed to have an initial annual capacity of 10 billion cubic meters.

TAP managing director Luca Schieppati said: “Being one of the most strategic and mature infrastructure projects currently implemented in Europe, TAP will bring a new source of gas to homes and business and boost security of energy supply in the region.

“Overall, our project is more than 80% complete and we are proud that works are being undertaken in line with the highest standards and industry best practice.”

In April 2016, Saipem bagged the engineering, procurement, construction and installation of the offshore section of the project. The Italian oil and gas industry contractor will deploy nearly 10 vessels for the offshore construction of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline in the Adriatic Sea.

While two vessels will be used for laying pipes, specialized vessels will be used for dredging, supplying pipes, light construction, anchor handling, towing and survey activities. A semi-submersible pipe laying vessel will be deployed by the Italian firm for installation of pipes in deep waters while a shallow water lay barge will be used for executing work closer to the shore.

In July 2018, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) had approved up to €500m of loan for the construction of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline. In February 2018, the European Investment Bank approved a €1.5bn loan for the pipeline project, which is part of the larger $40bn Southern Gas Corridor project