7 Jan /13

Shaking off old shackles: The Pan-European Oil Pipeline

pan-european oil pipelineAs its energy needs increase, it is quickly becoming clear that Europe cannot continue to rely on inadequate, aging pipelines to ensure delivery of oil and gas products. The unavoidable reality that European governments and importers now seem to finally address, is that Europe must find new ways to safely increase capacities while simultaneously liberate themselves from their dependence on the aging supply lines from the east. One of the most obvious ways to achieve this goal is to jumpstart the construction of efficient and safe energy pipelines along alternative supply routes.

Beyond the problem of deteriorating line pipes and resulting supply problems, there is also the geopolitical aspect of the European energy supply chain. An increased number of pipelines from more varied sources would serve to reduce Europe’s current dependency on potentially unstable Middle Eastern partners and reduce Russian overwhelming influence.

Of all new pipeline projects currently being discussed, one of the most aspiring and promising is the Pan-European Oil Pipeline (PEOP), which represents an updated version of the former Constanta-Pancevo-Omisalj-Trieste, or CPOT, project. This pipeline is intended to transfer Caspian and Russian oil from the Romanian Black Sea port of Constanta through Romania, Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia, to its final destination in Trieste, Italy, where it would link up with the Trans-Alpine Line as well as the Italian pipeline network.

Initially agreed upon and signed by the European Energy Commissioner and the five southern European nations of Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, and Italy in 2007, the pipeline was designed to meet multiple objectives: First, it is meant to achieve a cost-effective energy supply while minimizing oil pollution risks in the Black and Mediterranean seas. Second, a new supply line would alleviate the severely congested tanker lanes through the Bosphorus Strait. In addition to these logistical and economic benefits the PEOP would further break the Russian stranglehold on the European market by offering an alternative and reliable supply route.

Unfortunately, for a project that had started so auspiciously that the operational date was set a mere 4 years away, problems soon became apparent. Italy, the largest individual economic participant and provider of the main shipping port of Trieste, remained lukewarm about fully committing to the PEOP, creating tensions with the Croatian and Slovenian co-sponsors of the project. Ante Markov, the Croatian chief executive of JANAF, even went so far as to attest Italy “a lack of sufficient will for the project.” Regardless of the continued quarrels of participants, the European Community continues to highlight the importance and benefits of the Pan-European Oil Plan.

At this year’s 10th Gas Infrastructure Europe Annual Conference, EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger noted that the EU is “developing [their] gas infrastructure system in the best manner.” And that he expects the completion of the “Pan European Plan” in the next years.

Projects like the Pan-European Oil Pipeline are turning the oil and gas industry in Europe in a multinational environment forcing supplier to adjust to a new environment. As an FPAL-registered translation company, with more than twenty years of experience and over 100 in-house employees, EVS Translations can cover all your language requirements to navigate this new scenario successfully.