TAP gas pipeline to get 1.2 bln euros in loans from EBRD in 2018

BAKU, Feb 20 (Reuters) - The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development plans to allocate loans worth up to 1.2 billion euros for the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) this year, part of a $40 billion project to bring new gas supplies to Europe, an EBRD official said.

The European Union is trying to reduce its dependence on Russian gas by developing the so-called Southern Gas Corridor which is expected to bring around 16 billion cubic metres of gas to Europe per year from 2020.

The gas would come from the giant Shah Deniz 2 field in Azerbaijan via TAP as well as from the South Caucasus Pipeline that cuts through Georgia and the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) that goes through Turkey.

“The amount expected will be in the range of up to 500 million euros in a direct loan and up to 700 million euros in a syndicated loan, subject to final internal approvals,” Bruno Balvanera, EBRD Director for the Caucasus, Moldova and Belarus, told Reuters.

“It’s expected to be approved towards the middle of the year.”

In 2017, the EBRD approved a $500 million loan for the TANAP pipeline. Azeri gas flows to Turkey are expected to begin flowing through it in July 2018. The European Investment Bank approved a 1.5 billion euro loan for the TAP earlier this month. (Reporting by Margarita Antidze; Editing by Jane Merriman)