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Albanian, Italian companies sign agreement on joint venture establishment for TAP maintenance

Albanian state gas company "Albgaz" and the Italian natural gas infrastructure company "SNAM" signed an agreement on the establishment of a joint venture for the maintenance of Trans-Atlantic gas Pipeline (TAP) on the Albanian territory on Tuesday.

According to the agreement, "Albgaz" company will have 75 percent of the shares and "SNAM" 25 percent.

"The agreement followed intensive negotiations and an open international procedure with participation of the best European companies we selected by merit the Italian "SNAM", a shareholder company in the TAP consortium," declared the Albanian Minister of Energy and Infrastructure Damian Gjiknuri while attending the signing ceremony.

Gjiknuri explained that the Albanian side did not have the experience so that it was required an international partner.

Meanwhile, "Albgaz" director Arber Avrami emphasized that in the initial phase the company plans to recruit 45-60 qualified employees whose training will be done in Italy.

According to Avrami, the initial maintenance cost can go up to 4-6 million euros (around 4.7-7 million U.S. dollars) annually, but that may reach up to 10-15 million euros (around 12-18 million U.S. dollars).

Moreover, the joint venture has already begun the negotiations with the TAP on reaching an agreement of operational and maintenance services.

The Trans Adriatic Pipeline consortium said it has cleared around 90 percent of the pipeline route along the Southern Gas Corridor project in Albania and Greece.

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