Oct. 16 (UPI) -- The last of the 55,000 pieces of pipe needed to build a transit network from a giant gas field offshore Azerbaijan to Europe has arrived, developers said.
The Trans Adriatic pipeline consortium announced Monday that the final section of the pipeline arrived in Thessaloniki, Greece. That means all pieces have reached their final destination in each of the three host countries; Greece, Albania and Italy.
"This is yet another key milestone towards successful realization of the project," TAP Project Director John Haynes said in a statement. "The entire logistics delivery process was carried out in line with the project schedule and to the highest safety standards."
The 545-mile natural gas pipeline 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.
A series of pipelines dubbed the Southern Corridor are planned for the delivery of natural gas from the Shah Deniz reserve basin in the Azeri waters of the Caspian Sea. Collectively, they're part of a regional effort to add diversity to a European energy sector that relies heavily on Russia for natural gas. European leaders have expressed concern over Russian gas company Gazprom because it controls both the supplies and the transit arteries. Geopolitical spats between Russia and Ukraine, through which most of the Russian gas for Europe travels, in the past lead to energy shortages for European countries.
More than 500 billion cubic feet of natural gas per year is slated for exports from Shah Deniz to the European market through the broader network of 2,100 miles of pipelines in the Southern Corridor within the next few years.
Azerbaijan became a net gas exporter in 2007.