EXA Infrastructure, the largest dedicated digital infrastructure platform connecting Europe and North America and the Trans Adriatic Pipeline’s (TAP) operator unveiled a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a joint venture (JV) to build a new fibre route connecting France with Turkey in a major expansion of EXA Infrastructure’s European network.
The JV will utilise a fibre optic cable already installed by TAP alongside the 878-kilometre long gas pipeline, creating the only direct connection between South-East and Western Europe to provide high levels of redundancy over existing multi-stage alternative routes.
“What we’ve unveiled today is a critical component of a new digital route that links Eastern and Western Europe along a trading axis that goes back many centuries,” said Martijn Blanken, CEO of EXA Infrastructure. “This joint venture is a model for network expansion that we intend to replicate with other partners as we continue to invest in providing the best infrastructure where customers need it most.”
“The world’s largest organisations with the greatest amount of network traffic have been waiting for a fibre route between south-eastern and western Europe for years,” he added. “Our JV MoU with TAP is a clear signal of our intention to invest in further strengthening our world-class infrastructure for customers with critical requirements across Europe.”
TAP has been an independent transmission system operator since late 2020. The pipeline connects with the Trans Anatolian Pipeline at the Greek-Turkish border and crosses Northern Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea before coming ashore in Southern Italy to connect to the Italian natural gas network. EXA will share access to TAP’s spare fibre facilities, which are separate from TAP’s gas business, along its full length. Through the new fibre optic route, the JV will add a direct link from Marseille to Istanbul with branches connecting to Athens, Sofia and Tirana. The new route will feature 36 pairs of state-of-the-art, high-capacity G652D optical fibre in the strategic section of the new corridor. EXA and TAP expect to obtain any required clearances and the new system is expected to be operational in the first quarter of 2023.
“We are pleased that through this new Joint Venture, TAP will contribute to uniting South-Eastern and Western Europe’s digital network, bringing benefits not only to TAP’s host countries but also to the entire continent,” said Luca Schieppati, TAP’s Managing Director.
The pipeline plays also a significant role in boosting Europe’s energy security, supply diversification, as well as its decarbonisation objectives. TAP’s exits in Greece and Albania, together with the landfall in Italy provide multiple opportunities for further transport of gas from Azerbaijan to the wider European markets.