Samaras told Azerbaijan has chosen TAP pipeline to transport gas via Greece

Azerbaijan has chosen the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) for transporting natural gas to Western Europe via Greece over rival Nabucco West, Kathimerini undestands.

The decision was reportedly delivered to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in Athens on Wednesday by representatives of British Petroleum in Shah Deniz and the Azeri state energy company Socar.

A signing of the Host Government Agreement for the TAP project was expected to be signed by Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras, Deputy Energy Minister Asimakis Papageorgiou and TAP Managing Director Kjetil Tungland later in the day.

The 800-kilometer (500 miles) TAP pipeline project is being developed by Statoil ASA, EON Ruhrgas AG and EGL AG to initially ship 10 billion cubic meters of Azeri gas a year to Italy via Greece and Albania from the Turkish border.

The proposal is competing with the OMV AG-led Nabucco West development, which would run for 1,300 kilometers from Turkey to Austria via Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary, for the right to export the fuel.

Albania, Greece and Italy signed in Athens in February an agreement that gives the full political backing of the three countries to the TAP project.

According to a study by the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE), Greece will see investments of 1.5 billion euros as a result of the pipeline with the direct creation of 2,000 jobs, while another 10,000 would be created indirectly.

IOBE also sees the pipeline bringing 18 billion euros of added value to the Greek economy during the course of its operation.