The Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) has announced that the Environmental Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) in Albania has been approved by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Water Administration. The Environmental Permit has been published by the National Licensing Centre.
Submitted on the 21st of January 2013, the document has undergone a rigorous ten week review process, during which three public hearings were organised by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Water Administration with affected stakeholders. The ESIA maps-out all possible environmental, cultural or socio-economic impacts of the pipeline and includes measures to avoid and mitigate any possible impacts the pipeline may have during and after construction. The granting of the Permit takes the project a step closer to completion by specifying the construction and operational requirements that the management team must meet in order to fully comply with Albania’s environmental legislation.
Prior to the final submission, TAP provided the full ESIA document to residents of 83 communities in the regions of Korça, Skrapar, Berat and Fier, as well as to various NGOs and central institutions: In total, 23 public consultations took place with local stakeholders along the TAP route. In addition, local government was involved in the consultation process, with the project team discussing the report with the councils of 38 communes located along the route and all issued formal decisions in support of TAP project. During this period of public consultation, TAP received feedback from the local communities and responded to a range of queries.
Commenting, Albert Haak, Country Manager for TAP in Albania said: “The Trans Adriatic Pipeline has always placed great emphasis on corporate social responsibility so we are delighted that Environmental, Social Impact Assessment in Albania has been approved. Our discussions with individual people, local government and NGOs have shown consistently high levels of support for TAP and that has been borne out with today’s decision.”
“Having now secured our ESIA we can move to the next stage, obtaining the infrastructure permits needed for the construction phase. We are fully on track to be ready to ship Shah Deniz gas when it becomes available in late 2018.”
TAP will transport natural gas from the giant Shah Deniz II field in Azerbaijan, through Greece and Albania to Italy, from where it can be transported further into Western Europe. The Albanian section of the pipeline will start at Bilisht Qendër at the Greek border, and will stretch some 209km to the coastal area north of Fier, where it will join the Adriatic. The Albanian offshore section will be 60km in length.