IBNA Special Report
Tirana, February 9, 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Edison Kurani
Outgoing managing director of TAP AG Project, Kjetil Tungland says that the start of 2020 will mark the completion of the project in the Albanian territory.
In fact, it’s been many years that it has been said that fast progress would be made to complete the investments, but so far, works have not advanced with the right pace.
Ian Bradshaw, the new managing director of the TAP AG project, said today that the start of the month of June 2015 will see the start of the construction of the project’s access roads, bringing a higher presence on the field and more jobs.
In relation with these two important dates of the implementation of the TAP project in Albania, the two heads of TAP held meetings today with senior leaders of the Albanian state.
President of the Republic, Bujar Nishani received Kjetil Tungland and Ian Bradshaw. Nishani praised the work done so far by TAP AG in developing the energy sector in the country.
He considered TAP as the project of the 21st century for Albania.
The president said that all state levels and all political parties have offered guarantees for the continuation and successful finalization of the project, stressing the support that the TAP project has found in the Albanian society.
The two sides talked about the human qualified potential that exists in Albania for the realization of the project and the expected benefits in further development of the energy domain in Albania.
Meanwhile, in the meeting with the Minister of Energy and Industry, Damian Gjiknuri, the sides talked about the progress made so far with the TAP project and the steps that Albania has undertaken in the framework of cooperation for the realization of the project.
TAP’s directors praised the collaboration that has existed so far with Albanian government, namely with the Ministry of Energy and Industry in order to meet mutual obligations.
Will there be gas for Albanian households?
It’s a fact that one of the biggest mistakes made in Albania during the 50 year communist rule and 25 years of democracy is the failure to build a liquid gas supply system for homes, businesses and institutions in the country.
For this reasons, in nearly 90 years, electric energy is the only source of consumption in Albania.
With a destroyed and little renewed network, electricity is often absent in Albanian households and businesses. Moreover, dependency on rain and the high cost of import cause more problems for power supply in Albania.
A gas network would be a solution, which in neighboring Italy is the main source.
But, although the country used to produce gas during the communist rule, no such network was built. The problem became even bigger with the new constructions. Nobody built central heating and cooling systems in buildings, as a legal obligation to prevent this problem becoming even bigger. In fact, it’s a paradox that the central and local government refuse to issue construction permits for projects that lack trees or wide sidewalks and it doesn’t make sure that the gas system or another alternative of central heating or cooling is made part of the criteria.
This fact is now being seen as worrying by the Albanian authorities. Minister Gjiknuri says that the Albanian government aims at “maximizing economic benefits of the country by passing into this pipeline system”.
Mr. Gjiknuri says that the government is trying to accomplish the gasification of the country.
“Currently, a fund has been secured and work is being done for the gas master plan in Albania. Meanwhile, in cooperation with the government of Azerbaijan and state owned oil company SOCAR, the drafting of a feasibility study will be enabled”, says Gjiknuri. Until this becomes a reality, skepticism is still big and hopes that this will soon be accomplished, few. /ibna/