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Mediterranean states back key gas pipeline

April 25, 2013 at 6:55 AM

BAAR, Switzerland, April 25 (UPI) -- An agreement by Albania, Greece and Italy to coordinate support for a planned natural gas pipeline safeguards its success, an executive said.

A trilateral committee coordinates support for the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline. TAP is included in the so-called Southern Corridor, a planned network of pipelines meant to break the Russian grip on the European energy sector.

TAP is up against the more ambitious Nabucco West pipeline. A BP-led consortium operating in the Shah Deniz II gas field offshore Azerbaijan is expected by June to make a decision on which pipeline will carry gas to Europe.

TAP External Affairs Director Michael Hoffmann said the consortium, led by Swiss energy company and Norwegian major Statoil, said the support was a major vote of confidence.

"We believe the committee will increase the chances of TAP being selected by Shah Deniz in June this year," he said in a statement. "Significantly, it will also safeguard the successful implementation of the project following selection."

Nabucco's legal framework calls for an overland pipeline from the Turkish border that has a design capacity of up to 1 trillion cubic feet per year. TAP, which would cross part of the Adriatic Sea, could carry 350 billion-700 billion cubic feet per year "depending on supply and demand."

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