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TAP Likely to Attract European Bank Loans

Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which will initially deliver 10 billion cubic meters of Azeri gas to Europe, may find financing from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Investment Bank (EIB), according to statements from the banks.

TAP is a 878 kilometer-long cross-border natural gas pipeline, currently under construction, stretching from the Greek/Turkish border crossing Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea to Italy. TAP will connect at its entry point to the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) in Turkey.

The total cost of the project is foreseen to reach €4.5 billion. TAP's initial capacity of 10 billion cubic meters of gas per year is calculated to be equivalent to the energy consumption of approximately seven million households in Europe.

The Press Officer at EIB, Marco Santarelli, told Anadolu Agency that the project was presented to the board of the bank at its last meeting of the year amid a very busy agenda and a decision on its financing would be made at the board's first meeting in 2018.

"The board decided that, given the unexpected length of discussion on other agenda points, there wasn't enough time left for a proper discussion of this important project. The due diligence is done and the project has been proposed to the Board. Now it is for the Bank's directors to discuss and decide. This will happen in February at the first meeting of the Board in 2018. No change in attitude or approach by the Bank," he confirmed.

It has not yet been confirmed how much of a loan the EIB will give to TAP.

- EBRD evaluates loan of €500 million

The EBRD said the project's environmental and social due diligence is ongoing in a statement late Tuesday, but affirmed that the project could attract a loan of up to €500 million.

"Stretching across five countries where the EBRD operates in the Southern Gas Corridor - of which the TAP project is an integral part - is an important strategic gas infrastructure project aimed at improving the security and diversity of the energy supply to Europe and Turkey," the statement read.

"It will expand gas supply options and provide new energy transportation routes enabling Europe to access gas from the Caspian region and, in the longer term, beyond it, including the Eastern Mediterranean, Central Asia and the Middle East," according to the EBRD.

The project's construction commenced in 2015 and so far 58 percent has been completed. The project is scheduled for realization in the fourth quarter of 2019 in time for receiving first gas in 2020.

Project company TAP AG is the constructor, owner and operator of the project. Partners BP (U.K.), Snam SpA (Italy), Southern Gas Corridor Company (Azerbaijan) each have a 20 percent stake, Fluxys SA (Belgium) has a 19 percent share, Enagas (Spain) has 16 percent interest and Axpo Trading (Switzerland) has a 5 percent share in TAP AG.

(Anadolu Agency)

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