TAP system begins Italian ESIA process

Christopher E. Smith
OGJ Pipeline Editor

HOUSTON, May 16 -- The Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) has begun its formal environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) process in Italy. The submission of its scoping report to the Italian authorities follows similar activity in Albania last month. The scoping report document was presented to national, regional, provincial, and municipal authorities in Italy and is accessible to other stakeholders and the general public through the TAP web site.

Following route refinement studies between 2009 and 2011, the scoping document includes a detailed description of TAP’s preferred route. Entering Italy at the northern end of San Foca on the Adriatic coast, it will extend 21 km to S. Donato di Lecce and the tie-in point with Snam Rete Gas. The pipeline’s offshore length is roughly 45 km inside Italian waters, from the Italian coast to the middle of the Straight of Otranto in the Adriatic Sea, with 42-in. OD pipe used both onshore and offshore.

The scoping report also contains an explanation of possible environmental and social impacts of the chosen route and suitable mitigation measures, with special consideration given to avoidance of sensitive natural habitats such as the sea grass meadows Posidonia oceanica.

Submission of the Italian scoping report is the first step of the ESIA process in Italy, which in conjunction with the single authorization process, will give TAP all necessary construction and operating permits.

Once feedback has been received on the scoping report, TAP will submit the full ESIA to Italian authorities in this year’s fourth quarter, with official approval anticipated fourth-quarter 2012. TAP says the pipeline will be operational in time for first gas from the Shah Deniz II development in 2017.

Contact Christopher E. Smith at chriss@ogjonline.com.

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