LONDON May 17 The European Commission has
approved the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) project's final legal
requirement needed to allow it to export natural gas from
Azerbaijan to Europe, TAP said in a statement on Friday.
The TAP project, which aims to bring 10 billion cubic metres
(bcm) of Azeri natural gas from the Shah Deniz 2 consortium to
Europe via Italy, competes with the Nabucco West pipeline
project which would bring the gas to Austria.
The so-called Third Party Access exemption means TAP can
offer capacity for export of gas volumes from Azerbaijan to
Europe for a period of 25 years, TAP said.
"Its signature means that we now have all of the agreements
we require ahead of the Shah Deniz Consortium's decision next
month," said TAP's Managing Director Kjetil Tungland.
The Shah Deniz 2 consortium, led by BP, Statoil
, Azerbaijan's SOCAR and Total, plans to begin
exporting gas from early 2019 and has said it would announce the
winning pipeline project by the end of June.
TAP's shareholders are Swiss energy company Axpo,
Statoil and Germany's E.ON Ruhrgas.
Its rival Nabucco West includes Austria's OMV,
Hungary's MOL, Turkey's Botas and Romania's Transgaz
. Germany's RWE sold its stake to OMV last
(Reporting by Henning Gloystein; editing by James Jukwey)