Plinacro organized an online workshop on the Ionian-Adriatic Pipeline project for secure and diversified gas supply

An online workshop concerning the regional cooperation on the Ionian-Adriatic Pipeline project, organized by Plinacro, the Croatian gas transmission system operator, was held on 18 January 2022. Along with the members of the Board of Plinacro, Ms Darija Krstičević and Mr Marin Zovko, this workshop was attended by about fifty experts from all over the world, including high-ranking representatives of TAP, EXXONMobile, SOCAR and Excelerate as well as the representatives of in-line ministries and the gas transmission system operators of Croatia, Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Energy Community and European Commission. 

Mr Marin Zovko, the Member of Plinacro Board moderated the workshop together with the President of SOCAR Balkan Board, Mr Murat Heydarov. On this occasion, he pointed out the necessity of providing the information about the new moments concerning the IAP project, as well as the impact that the EU decarbonisation plan (Green Deal) has on the project. The idea of the IAP project is not new, it emerged during the development and implementation of the TAP project, as an opportunity to supply a new gas source for the Western Balkans market as well as the EU countries and to enable gasification of the countries that currently do not have a developed gas infrastructure, as well as diversification of supply routes at the markets where gas is already present. He stressed the need for open discussions about all options and possibilities providing security of energy supply, both for Croatia as well as the neighbouring countries, such as LNG terminal in Albania, new sources of gas in the Mediterranean, potential demand for gas in the countries in the region as well as the new direction towards decarbonisation, in which Croatia has been participating as an EU member.

In her introductory speech, Ms Darija Krstičević, the Member of Plinacro Board, also addressed the participants of the workshop, and pointed out that over the last few years Plinacro implemented several strategically crucial projects (LNG, that is, the Zlobin-Omišalj connecting gas pipeline and a compressor station) which have a significant impact on the security of gas supply in the region. She highlighted the importance of IAP for the entire southeast Europe and stressed the significance it has for achieving a low-carbon policy of the European Union as a transition energy source towards the low-carbon economy. At the end, when greeting the workshop participants, she gave a special thanks to Mr Murat Heydarov, the President of SOCAR Balkan Board, who significantly contributed to the organisation of the meeting and to Mr Richard Masa, the Head of the WBIF, since WBIF has been following the IAP project since its beginning. She thanked them for their support and the grants received for the project implementation.  
In the introduction a State Secretary of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, Mr Ivo Milatić and the Head of the WBIF (DG NEAR), Mr Richard Masa gave speech about the project, while Ms Florijana Đedović, a Member of the IAP Project Unit and the Head of the European Funds Business Unit gave a presentation on the IAP. Three panels were held. At one panel the IAP project promoters from each country presented their views on the project, on the other one market players TAP, EXXONMobile, SOCAR Trading and Excelerate presented their views on the region and the project, while at the third panel the view of Energy Community was presented.

At the workshop there was an active discussion concerning the continuation of the activities on the IAP project which will gasify a part of the region still using coal, lignite and wood. The European Commission has recognized gas as a cleaner energy source in such regions and as a transition energy source towards a low-carbon Europe. All participants stressed the importance of the role that the IAP has in the implementation of such policy as well as in providing a safe and diversified supply of the entire region, gasification of Albania, Montenegro and the southern parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. 

It was concluded that the IAP project is a project with the future since there is a gas demand in the areas of its envisaged route, which is available also from the South Gas Corridor, the LNG terminal on the island of Krk as well as the future LNG terminal in Albania. The conclusion is that the activities on the establishment of the IAP project company should be continued.