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E.ON is making plans to withdraw from the Trans Adriatic Pipeline project (TAP), possibly due to a declining demand for its gas supplies in core western Europe markets.
The German-based energy company has not revealed details of the possibility of a sale, or its reasons for considering a leave from the project. However, an official working for Azerbaijan’s Socar, the project’s main stakeholder, told journalists that E.ON has plans to withdraw following the Caspian Oil & Gas conference in Baku. The news was delivered first by Socar’s head of investment before late being confirmed by another company official.
The TAP project will ship gas from the Shah Deniz II field in Azerbaijan across the Adriatic Sea to southern Europe, when deliveries begin. The resolution to construct an 870 km TAP pipeline was passed last year by the stakeholder consortium. It will connect with the Trans Anatolian pipeline near the Turkish-Greek border, before then crossing Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea. It will eventually come ashore in southern Italy.
BP said that the project would support the sale of up to 10 billion cubic metres per year of Shah Deniz gas to markets in Italy, Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey, for the next 25 years.
E.ON currently holds a 9% stake in the project. Its main stakeholders are BP, Socar and Statoil, which each hold 20% shares. Belgian Fluxys and Swiss Axpo, meanwhile, hold shares of 16% and 5% respectively.
As well as E.ON, France’s Total also showed inclinations of leaving the project around the same time. It later did so at the end of May, selling its 10% stake to Turkey’s TPAO for $1.5 billion. However, it will now no longer be first in line to reap the benefits of the Shah Deniz II gas. The company has not commented publically about the decision.
E.ON, on the other hand said to Platts that it kept its portfolio of assets under continuous review, which “may or may not” lead to the company deciding to “evaluate a disposal of certain assets in the portfolio”, according to a spokesperson.
Work on the TAP project is scheduled to begin in 2015, after its main stakeholders have managed to secure access to the lands. Its managing director Kjetil Tungland said that it was important to develop the whole Southern Gas Corridor chain step by step, focusing on other markets besides Italy.
“Italy is interconnected with other European gas markets and it is important that these interconnections are in place.”