THE TRANS Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) has received environmental approval for the Italian section of the pipeline, a major milestone in its target of facilitating gas supply to several South Eastern European countries.

Italian Environment Minister Gianluca Galletti signed the Decree of environmental compatibility in September after extensive engagement with all the parties involved, including regular discussion with local communities, public consultation and close cooperation with the national and regional authorities involved in the process.

The final EIA report is in full accordance with both Italian and EU legislation and follows the international requirements of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Finance Corporation.

TAP will transport natural gas from the giant Shah Deniz II field in Azerbaijan to Europe.

The 870 kilometre long pipeline will connect with the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) near the Turkish-Greek border at Kipoi, cross Greece and Albania and the Adriatic Sea, before coming ashore in Southern Italy.

The offshore section of the pipeline will begin near the Albanian city of Fier and it will traverse the Adriatic Sea to tie into Italy’s gas transportation network.

The pipelines highest point will be 1,800 metres in Albania’s mountains, while its lowest will be 820 metres beneath the sea.

TAP’s landfall in Italy provides multiple opportunities for further transport of Caspian natural gas to some of the largest European markets such as Germany, France, the UK, Switzerland and Austria.

First gas sales to Georgia and Turkey are targeted for late 2018, with first deliveries to Europe anticipated to follow about a year later.

The TAP consortium is comprised of BP (20%), SOCAR (20%), Statoil (20%), Fluxys (16%), Total (10%), E.ON (9%) and Axpo (5%).