TAP is up against the smaller Interconnector Turkey-Greece pipeline and the Nabucco project included as part of the so-called Southern Corridor of European transit networks. TAP would reach from the Caspian Sea through Greece, Albania and to Western Europe.
The pipeline group said it scheduled a Feb. 16 town-hall meeting in Italy for a shortened route of the proposed natural gas pipeline. The pipeline will run about 3 miles onshore in Italy, down from the originally planned 13 miles.
"As a result, the proposed route crosses just one community in the area," the TAP project company said in a statement. TAP said the new scope of the project reflects feedback from Italian authorities.
Engineers working on the pipeline started taking samples at a depth of 65 feet below the seafloor off the southwest coast of Italy last month as part of route planning.
TAP could start shipping natural gas from Azerbaijan by 2017.