TAP Boosts Albania's Geo-strategic Importance
Albanian Daily News
Published June 13, 2017
TAP is a very important project for Europe, but it is quite as much important for Albania and Albanians, as for the first time Albania is included on the European map of natural gas. It increases the regional and geo-strategic importance of the country and contributes to commercial and physical integration of Albania in Europe. It is a very positive impact on Albania.
In an interview with Albanian Telegraphic Agency, TAP manager in Albania, Shkëlqim Bozgo, said that investments in Albania are estimated at roughly EUR 1.5 billion, including the costs of pipes and all other equipment and necessary machinery for pipeline construction.
He added that TAP pipeline, apart from the positive impact on Albanian economy, is playing a very important role in improving the living conditions, mainly in communities along and near the pipeline route, as a very important component. The presence and the opportunity to access TAP gas, according to Bozgo, has formed the concrete basis for development of the network infrastructure and domestic gas market, contributing significantly to the country's energy balance and domestic energy market in its entirety.
The Ministry of Energy and Industry has completed the Master Plan of Gas Sector, which includes the identification of several priority projects and in December last year the Albanian Government set up "AlbGaz Sh.a", the first Albanian public company for distribution and transmission of natural gas, Bozgo said. TAP, in line with the commitments undertaken in the agreements with the Albanian Government, is co-operating and supporting Albgaz in its efforts to build up domestic capacities and develop the gas sector. As known, TAP passes through Greece and Italy, both of them members of the European Union and Albania, which is a contracting party to the Energy Community Treaty. The purpose of the Energy Community Treaty is adoption of EU energy legislation in the member states of the Treaty (contracting parties).
With view to promoting competition in monopoly infrastructures, such as those of electricity and natural gas, EU legislation provides the right to anyone wishing to buy or sell electricity (gas or electricity) to access and use the relevant infrastructure against a tariff approved by energy regulators. To deter price abuses, infrastructure owners (electric lines or pipelines) are not allowed to deal with the trading of the respective energies. They ensure the return of investment through the transmission tariffs for each amount of energy transmitted to them and the tariffs are approved by the regulators. Albania has already inserted in the relevant gas law all the requirements of EU legislation. As a result, Bozgo declared, TAP cannot be involved in gas trading, but only in provision of its transportation service. "Once TAP becomes operational in 2020, even in Albania, any interested party that is ready to buy or sell gas will make this exchange through TAP's infrastructure," he said.