The Caspian Basin is expected to remain the main source of gas for the expanded Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), TAP’s Managing Director Luca Schieppati said in an interview with Report.

The pipeline operator announced on January 30 that the company is embarking on the first phase of expanding the line, which will allow gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz field to be transported to European markets, primarily Greece, Bulgaria and Italy. Thus, additional 1.2 billion cubic meters of gas, which the expanded TAP will allow to pump, will most likely also come from Azerbaijan.

“Expansion is a complex project that requires long-term commitments from shippers and buyers. A second binding phase is expected during 2023 and interested parties will be able to submit their bids. As these regular open seasons are structured to test the market requirements in a gradual process, TAP aims at doubling the pipeline’s capacity by 2027,” Luca Schieppati said.

For confidentiality reasons and regulatory constraints, he refused to disclose further information.

“For confidentiality reasons and regulatory constraints, we cannot disclose information on our existing shippers or entities that express interest in booking capacity with TAP. On our website, there is a list of all Registered Parties with TAP, who are eligible to book capacity,” he noted.

Among them are all the shareholders of the gas pipeline, Azerbaijan Gas Supply Company Limited (AGSC), which sells gas to the partners of the Shah Deniz field. In general, there are 27 companies on the list.

When asked which companies or countries have booked these additional capacities, which will be commissioned from 2026, the managing director of TAP said that this was done by Italy and Albania.

In 2013, TAP received an exemption from the requirements of the Third Energy Package, which prohibits gas market participants from transporting gas and obliges them to provide 50% of its capacity to third parties. This allows TAP to transport gas only under long-term contracts for its purchase and sale from the Shah Deniz-2 field.