Statoil and EGL on Thursday announced the divestment of a combined stake of 15% in the Trans Adriatic Pipeline project (TAP) to E.ON Ruhrgas - a leading energy provider. The new shareholder structure of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline project now comprises of EGL holding a 42.5% share, Statoil holding a 42.5% share and the new partner E.ON Ruhrgas holding 15%.
This is a strategic move and a significant step in the realization of the TAP project. E.ON Ruhrgas has a long history in the successful development of gas projects in the upstream and downstream sectors and brings additional knowledge and expertise that will further strengthen the Trans Adriatic Pipeline project. TAP still remains open for additional partners to join the project.
The Trans Adriatic Pipeline is the logical link in the value chain that connects existing and planned natural gas transport grids in southeast Europe with gas systems in western Europe via Italy, the Adriatic Sea, Albania and Greece. The realization of TAP will ensure that Europe has a direct and cost efficient access to the major natural gas reserves of the Caspian region and the Middle East, thereby contributing to European energy security.
Rune Bjoernson, Executive Vice President for Natural Gas at Statoil said: "We are very pleased to welcome on board E.ON Ruhrgas as a new partner in TAP. Today's move will further strengthen the TAP project and its ability to compete for gas volumes to be transported from the Caspian region to Europe."
He added: "Statoil as a resource owner in Shah Deniz is delighted to note the recent positive developments with regards to a potential gas package deal between Turkey and Azerbaijan. Such an agreement will pave the way for the development of new gas resources to the European market in which Statoil will be a key provider."
Hans Schulz, EGL CEO stated: "It has always been our intention to attract additional strong partners able to add value to this project. These include partners who are active in the construction of pipelines and gas distribution and thus contribute to TAP's success. The project now comprises of a group of companies with complementing capabilities."
Jochen Weise, Member of the Board of Directors and Head of Gas Supply for E.ON Ruhrgas. said: "By joining TAP we are enabling our company to place its already well diversified supply portfolio on an even broader foundation in the future, thus making an important contribution to security of supply in Europe and particularly, in southern and south-eastern Europe. With this investment, E.ON Ruhrgas focuses on the expansion of national or international transmission infrastructure. Such investments in European gas infrastructure combined with long-term gas supply contracts are indispensable so as to ensure European gas supply on a long-term basis at the familiar high standards of reliability."
The new shareholder agreement was signed in Brussels today. Due to regulatory requirements, the deal is expected to be concluded by the end of June 2010.
The 520km long pipeline will transport gas via Greece and Albania and across the Adriatic Sea to Italy's southern Puglia region and further to western Europe. The project is aimed at enhancing security of supply as well as diversification of gas supplies for the European markets. TAP will open a new so-called Southern Gas Corridor to Europe and market outlet for natural gas from the Caspian Sea and Middle East regions. The project is designed to expand transportation capacity from 10 to 20 bcm per year depending on throughput. The TAP project also envisages the development of natural gas storage facilities in Albania to further ensure security of supply during operational interruptions of gas deliveries.
The Trans Adriatic Pipeline is supported by the EU as a TEN-E project (Trans European Networks - Energy), in conformance with its energy policy and has been categorized by the EU Commission as an EU Interconnector. The development of TAP will continue to comply with all EU gas transport policies. Furthermore, the project enjoys political support and is named as part of the Italy-Albania IGA (intergovernmental agreement).
The project has established registered branches in all three host countries and is currently in front-end engineering. A feasibility study was concluded in 2006 with basic engineering completed in 2007 and the offshore survey finished in early 2009. TAP is committed to adhering to the highest environmental and social standards and has conducted extensive re-routing studies and consultations in Albania and southern Italy during 2009.