Azerbaijan will become Italy’s largest energy supplier with commissioning of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), the final leg of the Southern Gas Corridor, said Azerbaijan’s ambassador to Italy Mammad Ahmadzade.

He said in an interview with Askanews that 2019 was an important year, as TAP’s construction in Italy continued and the final permissions for the project’s implementation were acquired.

The ambassador expressed hope that with TAP’s commissioning in 2020, Azerbaijan will become Italy’s largest supplier of energy sources with crude oil and natural gas exports.

Further, the ambassador noted that like in 2018, Italy remained Azerbaijan’s largest trade partner in 2019, while Azerbaijan remained Italy’s largest crude oil supplier and the biggest importer of Italian goods in the South Caucasus.

Ahmadzade also pointed out that Azerbaijan-Italy business forum, to be held next year will also contribute to the diversification of the bilateral economic cooperation.

TAP project, worth 4.5 billion euros, is one of the priority energy projects for the European Union (EU). The project envisages transportation of gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz Stage 2 to the EU countries.

Connecting with the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) at the Greek-Turkish border, TAP will cross Northern Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea before coming ashore in Southern Italy to connect to the Italian natural gas network.

The project is currently in its construction phase, which started in 2016.

Once built, TAP will offer a direct and cost-effective transportation route opening up the vital Southern Gas Corridor, a 3,500-kilometer long gas value chain stretching from the Caspian Sea to Europe.

TAP shareholders include BP (20 percent), SOCAR (20 percent), Snam S.p.A. (20 percent), Fluxys (19 percent), Enagás (16 percent) and Axpo (5 percent).