The Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) has begun the formal Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) process in Albania, with the submission of the Scoping Report. The document was presented to the Albanian national and regional authorities, as well as to more than 100 other relevant stakeholders. It meets the Best Practice Guidelines laid down by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
The report includes a detailed description of the preferred route for the TAP pipeline, identified during extensive refinement studies in Albania in 2009-2010. It also contains a comprehensive explanation of the possible environmental and social impacts of the chosen route and suitable mitigation measures. In particular, special consideration was given to the avoidance of sensitive natural habitats. As a direct result, TAP will bypass the Hotova National Park and the Vjosa river valley.
Entering from Greece at Miras in the Korça region, the Albanian section of the route stretches a total of 209km to the coast, north-west of Fier. The offshore section will be 60km in length, crossing the Adriatic Sea entering southern Italy. In addition to having submitted the scoping report to the Albanian Government and a wide variety of stakeholders, NGOs and international development organisations such as the World Bank, GTZ and EBRD, TAP has also organised a series of national and regional consultation meetings from 11th – 28th April. These sessions will take place in Tirana, Korça, Çorovoda, Berat and Fier.
TAP will be one of the largest foreign direct investments in Albania and it will help to develop the country’s energy infrastructure and thereby foster economic growth by creating employment and developing local skills. The pipeline can facilitate Albania in meeting its domestic energy needs by bringing Caspian gas to the Albanian market and providing a stimulus for future gas infrastructure in the country.
Commenting, Dr. Kai Schmidt Soltau, TAP’s CSR & Environmental & Social Impact Assessment Manager, said: “By actively involving government and local communities in the route selection process from the beginning of the project, the Trans Adriatic Pipeline has been able to gain a lot of support and trust in Albania. From the earliest stages, all interested parties have been able to discuss their concerns with us, and to genuinely input into our chosen route.”
Martin Ferguson, Health, Safety and Environment Director at TAP added: “This process sets a great example for other international companies looking to do business in Albania. By communicating and engaging with all stakeholders and ensuring that we have met international best practices at every stage, the Trans Adriatic Pipeline has enjoyed great success. We look forward to continuing to work with the Albanian Government and people in the future.”
Following the feedback received on the Scoping Report, TAP will submit the full ESIA Report to the Albanian government in the third quarter of 2011. TAP anticipates receiving the official approval of the ESIA well in advance of start of pipeline construction.