DESFA, Albgas to assume TAP duties on Albanian territory

A prospective joint venture involving DESFA, Greece’s gas grid operator, and Albania’s Albgas will assume the operational and maintenance duties for the TAP gas pipeline segment crossing Albanian territory, according to energpress sources.

DESFA officials are expected in Tirana today to sign related agreements. The TAP pipeline will run through northern Greece, Albania and across the Adriatic Sea to Italy for delivery of natural gas from the Caspian region to Europe.

The same sources noted that DESFA will sign an MOU following the Easter break with Bulgartransgaz, Bulgaria’s gas operator, as well as Romania’s Transgaz and Hungary’s FGSZ to push ahead the development of the Vertical Corridor. Ukraine’s Uktransgaz has also expressed interest in this project.

Last September, the Greek, Bulgarian, Romanian and Hungarian gas operators, along with ICGB – a 50-50 joint venture involving Bulgarian state-run company BEH and Poseidon (DEPA, the Public Gas Corporation, and Edison, formed for the prospective Greek-Bulgarian IGB natural gas pipeline – signed a joint declaration pledging to intensify their efforts for the development of the Vertical Corridor at technical and regulatory levels.

The IGB pipeline is planned to be incorporated into the Vertical Corridor. The Vertical Corridor, to provide a northbound natural gas transit route from Europe’s southeast, including Greece, is planned to connect with the TAP pipeline.

The Vertical Corridor may also be linked to Greece’s LNG terminal on Revythoussa, an islet just off Athens, whose capacity is being increased, and, as a result, will offer southeast European countries access to LNG.

DESFA is also pressing ahead with preparations for the establishment of a wholesale trade gas hub. A plan for this venture, commissioned to Belgium’s Fluxys, has already been completed. Fluxys is now preparing plans to establish a platform for gas auctions, expected in 2018.

Also, a feasibility study for a 160-km gas pipeline linking Thessaloniki with Stip, in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (Fyrom), is being carried out. An MOU for this project plan has been signed between DESFA and Fyrom’s MER.

This project would provide Fyrom with direct access to the Revythoussa LNG terminal. It could also facilitate a link for Fyrom’s gas network with the TAP pipeline.