The growing tension between Armenia and Azerbaijan does not pose any immediate risk to the flow of Azeri gas into Western Europe, the head of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) said on Tuesday.

“Fortunately the Corridor is a long way from the most critical area,” TAP managing director Luca Schieppati said during an energy conference in Milan.

Report informs, citing Reuters, that he believed the building of the pipeline was something that could unite countries.

Schieppati confirmed that after some four and a half years of work TAP was due to start on schedule in the coming months: “By the end of the year the gas will flow and we can finally open the southern corridor.” 

The 878km TAP pipeline, which will have an annual capacity of 10 billion cubic metres of gas, is a cornerstone of the European Union’s energy security policy to wean the bloc off Russian gas. Of this, 550 km is in Greece, 215 km in Albania, 105 km in the Adriatic Sea and 8 km in Italy. The highest point of the route in Albania is 1,800 meters above sea level, and the lowest point on the seabed is 820 meters below sea level.

The groundbreaking ceremony was held on May 17, 2016 in Thessaloniki, Greece. It is expected that the first gas from Azerbaijan will be transported to Europe in late 2020 through TAP.