Italy court halts TAP pipeline work in Italy

MILAN (Reuters) - An Italian administrative court has halted work to remove olive trees standing in the path of a strategic pipeline that will bring central Asian gas into Europe, in a move that could further delay the project, a document showed.

In a ruling on Thursday seen by Reuters the court accepted a request by the regional government of Italy’s southern Apulia region to suspend permits allowing developers to remove the trees.

The Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), the end piece of the $40 billion Southern Gas Corridor, is slated to bring 10 billion cubic meters of gas from Azerbaijan into the small Italian seaside town of San Foca in Apulia by 2020.

But opposition from the local town council and the regional authority has caused delays and raised some concerns about it being re-routed.

Last week a top Italian court gave the green light to building the pipeline.

Reporting by Giancarlo Navach, writing by Stephen Jewkes