Italy tells Azerbaijan it is committed to TAP pipeline

ROME, July 18 (Reuters) - Italian President Sergio Mattarella has confirmed, during a visit to Azerbaijan, that Italy is committed to the TAP international gas pipeline, his office said on Wednesday.

Italy is at the end of the Southern Gas Corridor, a pipeline taking gas from central Asia to western Europe, but the new government had previously expressed doubts about the project.

A government source told Reuters on Wednesday that while it was now committing to the pipeline, it may seek to shift its path to limit the environmental impact of the project. Activists have protested that the arrival of the pipeline will lead to the destruction of olive groves in Southern Italy.

“I think they will move (the pipe) to avoid the olive trees,” said the source, who has knowledge of the dossier.

Reporting by Angelo D’Amato and Massimiliano Di Giorgio; Writing by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Philip Pullella