Remarks by Amos Hochstein
Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs, U.S. Department of State
at Trans Adriatic Pipeline Groundbreaking
May 17, 2016
Thank you Prime Minister Tsipras for hosting us all today here and for your leadership and dedication that has led us to this point. This is an important event and all the work that you and your Trans Adriatic Pipeline partners, Albania and Italy, as well as the other participants along the route – Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey – for all that you have done to make this pipeline and the larger Southern Corridor project advance from an idea to actual construction. Your efforts alongside company shareholders have shown true commitment to energy diversification in Europe.
Just two weeks ago, my good friend Maros Sefcovic and I participated in the U.S.-EU Energy Council in Washington with Secretary of State John Kerry and High Representative Mogherini. At that meeting, we all agreed that completing the Southern Gas Corridor must continue to be a top priority as we seek to achieve true diversification and energy security throughout Europe.
TAP represents the last essential piece in the Southern Gas Corridor. The United States has supported this project from its inception – we are not a route country, as you know – but because it provides new hope and opportunity for stability and prosperity in every country along the route and throughout the region that it neighbors.
I’m three for three. I’m proud to have been in all three groundbreaking ceremonies to date – in Azerbaijan, in Kars, and today here. The degree of commitment from our government to this project is unshakeable.
The Southern Gas Corridor represents more than the 10 bcm of gas from Azerbaijan to Europe. Together with the Greece-Bulgaria Interconnector – the IGB, as Prime Minister Tsipras mentioned earlier – this is what will make the difference throughout the region. It will also provide many more paths for new gas to reach Europe’s market, including areas that are under-served or are victims to aggressive energy monopolies.
That is why it is critically important that we move ahead, not only with the Southern Gas Corridor but with all the spurs and the interconnectors, such as the IGB, that were mentioned already today.
TAP and the Southern Gas Corridor stand in direct contrast to other discussed projects that do not contribute to the energy security of Europe. TAP does.
Allow me with your permission to read out a letter – a note – from Secretary of State John Kerry who expresses his sincere regrets for not being able to be here in person despite caring about this project deeply.
On behalf of the United States, I offer my congratulations to the Government of Greece, as well as to all of the partners in the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) project consortium, on the occasion of the groundbreaking of this important pipeline…
Today’s groundbreaking is a major step toward completion of the Southern Gas Corridor, which will provide diversification of energy sources for both the region and Europe at large. As part of the Southern Gas Corridor, TAP will be a prime example of infrastructure that enhances European energy security.
The United States will continue to provide unwavering support to this vital energy security project. TAP, in tandem with other critical gas interconnector projects around the region, will bolster regional energy security, and provide true diversification of gas supplies for the first time in the history of southeastern Europe.
I offer my sincere congratulations on a job well done. The United States will continue to stand by you and support your efforts to achieve energy security for your citizens and those across Europe.
Sincerely, John F. Kerry, Secretary of State.