The consortium constructing the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) is investing a total of 800 million euros in Albania in 2017-2018, a sum which represents the largest single input of FDI in the country. (FDI for the whole country is approximately 1.5 billion euros). TAP will additionally create job opportunities for Albanian companies during construction. More than 2,800 people are already working directly for the project.
“TAP will directly contribute to Albania’s gross domestic product, contributing as a substantial taxpayer, and investing in social and environmental projects that will improve many peoples’ lives,” Ulrike Andres, TAP’s managing director ad interim in Albania tells Emerging Europe. “Just one example: it will upgrade Albania’s road infrastructure, increasing road safety.”
The pipeline will be connected to the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) on the Turkish-Greek border, running through Greece, Albania and under the Adriatic Sea over a total length of 878 kilometres.
“As a consequence of building TAP, it is expected that Albania’s regional and geo-strategic significance will increase,” Mrs Andres adds. “This will contribute to the country’s commercial and physical integration into Europe. Additionally, many local businesses have already become involved in the project and opportunities will increase during the next phases of the project.”
According to Albanian Ministry of Energy and Industry, the country’s energy sector continues to suffer from losses despite improvements over the last three years to curb theft and non-payment. TAP is expected to increase demand for gas-fired energy and manufacturing investments in Albania, with the first gas deliveries scheduled for 2020.
“TAP will help to establish the basis for the diversification of the Albanian energy sector and the potential for its transformation into a regional natural gas hub,” Mrs Andres says. “Albania will be able to grow the country’s natural gas network, and together with strategic partners develop the commercial offers customers in other European countries are already benefitting from. Developing a gas network will mean that the dependence on coal for electricity generation will be reduced, and as a result, the environmental performance of the Albanian energy sector will improve significantly. Albania will be able to play a key role in the gasification of South East Europe, enabling other countries of the region to connect to natural gas supplies from the Caspian area.”