The European Investment Bank yesterday (6 February) approved its largest ever single loan to an energy project: the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). The €1.5 billion credit will be used to transport gas from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean.
The EIB board agreed on financing of energy and transport projects worth €6.5 billion but its long-awaited decision on the TAP pipeline was the marquee announcement of the package.
A decision was actually due in December but the Luxembourg-based bank delayed it, citing a need to look at the project more closely. Funding has been pending for the last two years.
TAP will form the European leg of the Southern Gas Corridor, a large-scale fossil fuel infrastructure project that will cross the Anatolian plain from Azerbaijan, before cutting through northern Greece, Albania and making land in southern Italy.
EIB Vice President Andrew McDowell told Reuters the TAP project would help to offset declining European production, providing a diversified source of gas and displace coal-fired power generation in central and south eastern Europe.
Estimates suggest that the pipeline would bring 10bcm of gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz 2 gas field but concerns have already been raised by Russian energy giant Gazprom’s suggestion that it too could supply its gas via TAP.
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