BAAR, Switzerland, March 4 (UPI) -- A pipeline consortium slated to bring non-Russian natural gas through southern Europe said it awarded contracts for pipeline construction in Greece and Albania.
A joint venture formed by Italian engineering company Bonatti and its Greek counterpart, J&P AVAX, secured two contracts for pipelines that will run through northern Greece to the Albanian border. French company SPIECAPAG won the deal to build pipelines though the region and on to the Turkish border.
The contracts are for the Trans-Adriatic pipeline, which will start delivering gas from the Shah Deniz gas project offshore Azerbaijan to European consumers in 2019. TAP would connect to the Trans-Anatolian natural gas project running through Turkey to the Greek border.
The TAP project consortium offered no terms for the build deals other than to say they're the largest awarded so far for the onshore sections of the pipeline.
BP, leading Azeri developments alongside a state-backed energy company, has awarded more than $1 billion in development contracts since selecting the TAP as its option for Shah Deniz in 2013.
TAP is part of the network of pipelines included in the Southern Corridor of gas programs meant to diversify a European energy sector dependent on Russia.
Lingering economic and geopolitical issues in Ukraine pose a threat to European natural gas supplies. Europe gets about a quarter of its gas needs met by Russia's Gazprom, which is accused of holding monopolies in the region, and the majority of that volume runs through Soviet-era pipelines in Ukraine.