Speech at the ground-breaking ceremony inaugurating the work on the Trans Adriatic Pipeline
Prime-Minister Mr. Tsipras
Distinguished Prime Ministers, Ministers, excellencies,
Ladies and genetlmen,
Today is a historic day. The Southern Gas Corridor is the biggest construction project of our time. The Trans Adriatic Pipeline is an important part of this project and today we are seeing it here in Thessaloniki, built on Greek, on European soil. This did not happen by itself. It is the result of tremendous work, notably by the governments of all the countries along the corridor and all the companies of the TAP consortium.
The realisation of the Southern Gas Corridor will be a turning point:
- from centralised markets with single dominant suppliers to mixed and diverse energy markets;
- from a world where each country had its own energy plans into a coherent regional strategy where countries cooperate together along common interests;
- from the assumption that the Caspian Sea is too far away for the European market to creating an integrated energy infrastructure linking Caspian resources to European consumers. Today's ceremony is the living proof that this is technically possible, that it's economically viable, and that it's politically beneficial for all parties involved.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Energy diversification is not a matter of symbolism, it is about competitiveness which will create better services and lower prices; it is about stronger energy security and less precarity, it is about solidarity and support among neighbouring countries. None of these can be overestimated! Energy diversification is therefore also at the cornerstone of the European Energy Security Strategy which we published in 2014, and the Security of Supply legislative package which we proposed 3 months ago.
And given the benefits of the Corridor to the European market, the Commission has listed all segments of the Corridor in its list of Projects of Common Interest. That includes: Trans-Adriatic, Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) across Turkey and the Southern Caucasus Pipeline (SCP) expansion. TAP has also been identified as one of the key priority projects for the success of the Central and South Eastern Europe Gas Connectivity (CESEC) initiative.
The phase which starts today should be concluded fairly soon. By 2020 we expect to see gas flowing into Europe. This will be the conclusion but not the end. Once the route and the overall framework are tested, it will be easier to expand the Southern Gas Corridor beyond the initial volumes of 10 billion cubic meters a year.
I can already confirm our interest in scaling-up the Southern Gas Corridor swiftly, including with more gas originating from the Caspian and possibly Central Asia region. In this context, it is important to recall the Ashgabat Declaration signed with Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey in May last year.
Ladies and gentlemen,
It was important for me to come to Greece and congratulate you in person on such an important day. I encourage you all to continue in the same pace in which we've been seeing each other lately, each time at a major milestone: last March we met for the ground-breaking ceremony for TANAP in Kars, and 2 and a half months ago at the Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council in Baku.
We are definitely on the right track!