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Greek daily Eleftherotypia evokes Leonard Bernstein’s musical comedy “West Side Story” to announce the contract for the construction of the European segment of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) signed in Athens on June 26.

By 2018, the pipeline is slated to link the Shah Deniz deposit in Azerbaijan to the San Foca Terminal in southern Italy via Greece and Albania. Undertaken by a consortium of firms including the Norwegian Statoil, the Swiss Axpo and the German E.ON in a joint venture with British BP, it is expected to supply 10bn cubic metres to Europe, the equivalent of 10 per cent of the continent’s annual needs in natural gas.

Greek finance minister Yannis Stournaras said the contract would create 2,700 jobs. This is good news, says the paper, following the failure of efforts to privatise the DEPA gas company. Eleftherotypia also reports that Chinese firm Cosco, which controls a part of the Greek port of Piraeus, will also participate in the transport of the natural gas.

The signing of the TAP contract is a defeat for Nabucco West, a competing consortium backed by the European Union, which passed through Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Austria. “This project started in 2002 and was supposed to transform the Austrian oil firm OMV into a global player,” recalls Austrian daily Die Presse, but adds:

This dream did not come true. The huge supplies of gas in Azerbaijan will be transported by the competing network. Thus OMV must absorb the costs of the project [of €50bn].