The Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) and the partners of Azerbaijani Shah Deniz field development selected the Société Générale Corporate & Investment Banking to provide financial guidance to the project during its preparatory and construction phases, TAP reported on Tuesday.
The decision was made by TAP, its shareholders Axpo, Statoil and E.ON Ruhrgas, and Shah Deniz Consortium members SOCAR, BP and Total as potential investors in TAP.
The Société Générale Corporate & Investment Banking is a leading adviser to cross border pipelines, most recently the Nord Stream project.
According to TAP's report, the Société Générale will initially assist TAP's management team with structuring the pipeline's project finance strategy, carrying out a bankability review and formulating a credible and deliverable funding plan.
"Following the Shah Deniz Consortium's selection of its preferred pipeline to Europe and TAP's shareholders' 'Resolution to Construct', expected in September 2013, Société Générale will support TAP in the implementation of the plan and the raising of any required capital," the report said.
According to Kjetil Tungland, Managing Director of TAP, the selection of financial advisor is another step in making the TAP project a reality.
"TAP's financial strength is well-known - our offer remains the most strategic and compelling commercially, not least because we are the only pipeline that does not require public funds," he said. As we approach the next stage in TAP's development, Société Générale will support us in structuring financing for the project, enabling us to deliver the highest value to our customers and investors."
Currently, the Shah Deniz consortium considers two options for its gas transportation to Europe - TAP and Nabucco West. The final decision on the pipeline route will be made in June 2013.
TAP project is designed to transport gas from the Caspian region via Greece and Albania and across the Adriatic Sea to southern Italy and further into Western Europe. TAP's initial pipeline capacity will be 10 billion cubic metres per year, but it is easily expandable to 20 billion cubic metres per year. TAP's shareholders are AXPO of Switzerland (42.5 percent), Norway's Statoil (42.5 percent) and E.ON Ruhrgas of Germany (15 percent).
In case of choosing TAP as a final pipeline route to transport Azerbaijani gas to Europe, the construction of the pipeline will start in 2015.