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Schedule for TAP gas link startup unaffected by Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict: Socar

Highlights

10 Bcm/year line expected to begin operations by year-end

Schedule for TAP commissioning unchanged 'so far'

Follows alleged rocket attack on oil, gas pipelines

Istanbul — The planned commissioning of the 10 Bcm a year Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) has not been affected by the escalation of the armed conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh and reports of Azerbaijani pipeline infrastructure being targeted by Armenian forces on Oct. 6, Azerbaijan's state oil company Socar said Oct. 8.

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The TAP pipeline is scheduled to start operations by the end of this year, carrying gas from Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz gas field from the Turkey-Greece border via Albania to Italy.

"Neither the export volume nor the schedule for TAP commissioning has changed so far," Socar spokesman Ibrahim Ahmadov said.

"We have modeled possible scenarios and taken all necessary precautions in order to prevent or reduce damage in case of another attack," he added, saying that a second "attempted attack" had occurred in the same area.

Azerbaijan government officials said Armenian forces had fired a cluster rocket late Oct. 6 that struck 10 meters from the South Caucasus gas pipeline (SCP) and the BTC oil pipeline in the central-western Yevlakh district, well away from the three decade-long conflict zone, but reported that no damage was caused to either pipeline.

Armenian foreign ministry officials denied the Oct. 6 attack, but did not respond to Platts request for comment on the report of a second attack.

Construction of the subsea section of TAP was completed in June with the development consortium confirming that it planned to commission the line and begin gas deliveries to Italy by the end of 2020.

The TAP pipeline is developed by a consortium of BP (20%), Socar (20%), Snam (20%), Fluxys (19%), Enagas (16%) and Axpo (5%).

A spokesman for the TANAP pipeline operating company -- which transports the Azerbaijani gas across Turkey -- said Oct. 7 that TANAP was continuing to supply only "line pack" gas for TAP.

BP, which operates the Shah Deniz gas field, said Oct. 7 it was "deeply concerned" about the expansion of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan and in particular the reported targeting of pipeline infrastructure.