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    TAP Postpones Binding Bid Phase For Expansion


Gas pipeline operators in southern Europe do not foresee strong interest in more capacity for at least a year.

by: Dalga Khatinoglu

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TAP Postpones Binding Bid Phase For Expansion

The Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) operating company has pushed back the binding bidding phase of the market test for capacity from January next year to July. It said market conditions were unfavourable and the operators of TAP and the grid operators at either end of the line, Snam in Italy and Desfa in Greece, wanted more time.

The company launched a market test to allow shippers to make non-binding bids for new, long-term capacity in the line in July 2019 to prepare for progressing into binding contracts that would allow the financing of new capacity. TAP told NGW then that the results of non-binding bidding were “successful” without giving details.

TAP plans to starting pumping gas to east Europe this autumn. Its phase 1 transport capacity is 10bn m3/yr of Azeri Shah Deniz stage 2 gas, but it is able to double its capacity to 20bn m3/yr, for which other gas suppliers will be able to bid. But with the project now more than 95% complete, the operating company aims to ensure that the pipeline can expand in line with the future demand to transport gas into Europe.

TAP has begun pumping gas into a 4-km section of the pipeline that runs between the Greek border and a metering station in Bilisht, Albania, it said on May 22.

It connects with the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline near the Greek-Turkish border and runs through Greece, Albania and under the Adriatic Sea, making landfall in Italy.

TAP's shareholders comprise BP, Azerbaijan's Socar and Italy's Snam, each with 20%, Belgium's Fluxys with 19%, Spain's Enagas with 16% and Swiss firm Axpo with 5%. Formerly EGL, Axpo has gas-fired power plants in Italy and was a key driver behind TAP.