The ITGI pipeline guarantees the differentiation in the energy supply of Europe intended by the European Union. At the same time, it is the most mature project regarding its licensing, funding from European programmes and bank institutes while it offers the maximum added value in the Greek economy and creates most of the jobs.
This is the conclusion of a study of the Institute of Energy for Southeast Europe (IENE in Greek) investigating the benefits arising from the South Corridor pipelines which are planned to pass through Greece, i.e. ITGI, oTAP and South Stream. The study used 15 criteria to compare the said three pipelines with regard to the possibility of their direct implementation and financial viability and the added value for the country
The study estimates that the South Stream project does not guarantee a differentiation in the energy sources but only in the route to Europe and, furthermore, there is only minimum information about the development of the whole project.
The TAP pipeline is supported by big power companies and, therefore, has strong financial resources for its implementation. It provides almost equal results in jobs and investment capitals with ITGI in the construction phase. However, for TAP, as it is designed, Greece is only a transit country, while the ITGI design also foresees the implementation of investments in W. Greece providing significant development advantages during its operation.
More specifically, ITGI seems to be the most desirable perspective at a regional level. For Greece, it means significant investments at a local level and security in energy supply as a part of the natural gas shall be channeled from the Caspian Sea to the Greek market, guaranteeing at the same time the operation of the Gas Supply Company of Epirus and West Macedonia. From a regional point of view, ITGI secures the differentiation of energy supply of the wider area by strengthening regional energy safety and facilitating cooperation and it is the spearhead for the development of the regional natural gas market, securing the continuous flow of natural gas and the supply of adequate volumes. The “key” for this prospect is the IGB (Greek-Bulgarian) pipeline, which is practically part of the ITGI system and is in an advanced development stage.
The advantages also of ITGI include the already secured licensing, the minimization of political and economic risk, its design and the secured funding from the European Commission. A significant part of the onshore infrastructure is in operation and what is left is the construction of the main pipeline to Western Greece and the offshore part to Italy.
Contrary to the other pipelines, ITGI, according to the study of the Institute of Energy for Southeast Europe, has secured the unreserved support and cooperation of the Turkish, Bulgarian, Greek and Italian governments.
Regarding the benefits for the Greek economy, it is estimated that in the construction phase of ITGI 10,563 people shall be employed, compared to 9,054 of the TAP project, with the maximum added value for the country to be estimated at EUR 432,474,750 million vs. EUR 370,692,643 million from the TAP project.
The contribution of ITGI in its foreseen 25-year operation is considered of vital importance for the Greek economy because of investments budgeted to amount at EUR 150 million and the creation of new jobs (approximately 900, including the of Energy for Southeast Europe). On the opposite, the corresponding benefits from the operation of the TAP pipeline are almost zero.
As a conclusion, ITGI is seen as the most mature system of pipelines, ready to transport natural gas from the Caspian Sea to the European markets, maintaining the energy supply at competitive prices with continuous flow and significantly contributing to energy security.