The Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) has officially submitted its Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) to the Ministry of Environment in Italy.
The TAP project aims to deliver secure natural gas supplies from the Shah Deniz field in Azerbaijan to western Europe, transporting the gas via Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea, to Italy’s Puglia region.
The ESIA document outlines the project’s most recent configuration in Italy, explaining its potential impact on the local environment, as well as proposed measures to avoid or mitigate negative effects and enhance the pipeline’s positive impact.
TAP’s Italian section will consist of a 5 km onshore and 45 km offshore pipeline, stretching to to a Pipeline Receiving Terminal in the province of Lecce. TAP will have a capacity to transport 10 Billion Cubic Metres (BCM) of natural gas per year with a possibility to expand to 20 BCM as more volumes come on stream.
TAP’s proposed landing point on the Italian coast is between San Foca and Torre Specchia Ruggeri in the municipality of Melendugno (Lecce) and will be constructed using state-of-the-art micro-tunneling technology. This will take the pipeline under any Posidonia seagrass (protected habitat) growth offshore and beneath the coastline to avoid any landscape impacts on the beaches and cliffs. TAP will tie-in with the Italian gas network, operated by Snam Rete Gas.
The current route of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline, with a landfall in the province of Lecce, has been identified after three years of intensive field work in Italy. A group of experienced Italian and international environmental, social and technical experts and engineering companies have analysed numerous alternatives and selected this route which avoids crossing environmentally sensitive areas and which minimises potential negative social or economic impacts.
Mitigation measures that will be implemented will prevent impacts on the near shore and coastal environment. For example, scheduling of the near shore construction work during the winter will avoid any impact on the tourist industry, and also it will not interfere with the breeding period of sea turtles. TAP has been in regular contact with NGO’s to ensure a minimum impact on sensitive areas and species.
The ESIA report was prepared in accordance with Italian law and in line with the Environmental and Social Policy of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). During the pipeline route selection phase, TAP consulted with local communities, administrative bodies and other interested parties to collect feedback and address their concerns. This dialogue is ongoing.
Paolo Pasteris, TAP’s Country Manager Italy, commented: “I would like to highlight that our dialogue with regulatory authorities, NGOs which started in January of 2011 will continue. TAP has also started a dialogue with the communities and that we thank them for their valuable contribution and all of the feedback they have provided so far. TAP will organise future meetings for the public in the coming months to make sure that we have answered any questions and found a way to address all concerns.”
Martin Ferguson, Health, Safety and Environment Director at TAP, added: “The submission of the ESIA to the Italian authorities is an important step forward in the realization of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline. We have used a team of Italian and international experts to prepare a comprehensive assessment of the potential environmental and social impacts and most importantly, to identify the steps needed to minimise or eliminate possible negative impacts.
We look forward to further discussions with local communities and experts to make sure that we achieve the highest standards for this project. Because of this approach I am confident that TAP will obtain all necessary authorisations on time and it will be ready for the first gas from the Shah Deniz II development in 2017/2018.”
Source: TAP, March 21, 2012