Q&A with senior managers
|Kjetil Tungland||Gunnar Myreboe||Martin Ferguson|
How long have you been involved with TAP? What does it mean to you?
When my last project was completed I was looking for something else to do and that coincided with the stage that TAP was in where new shareholders were about to join and Statoil had as a result of our new shareholders’ agreement the right to nominate the managing director. I was fortunate enough to be that person.
From then on I think this might be the most fascinating job I have ever had!
Some years before I had a fantastic job as a manager of exports of gas from Norway to the west and southern parts of Europe, France and Spain and Italy . . . that was extremely fun. But this one really leaves me with the hands on the wheel on all of the issues related with the project which encompasses almost everything – politics, strategy, technical details, commercial challenges, and also being the manager of a group of people from many different nationalities, having grown up in countries and companies with entirely different business cultures . . . that is extremely interesting.
We have tried to find the right model for having people cooperate, given that we have three shareholders and people come from various places. There are more than 50 of us working in this office, most of them based here in Baar but there are also TAP people in Athens, Tirana, Rome and Brussels. That makes this organisation neither big nor small. It’s so big you need to have some structures but it’s small enough that information flows freely without any hierarchy. We know we can’t win this race unless we share our information and cooperate freely. That’s fascinating.
Operations and Country Offices Director
For me this was a terrific opportunity. I was part of the Executive Committee in Statoil and at the age of 62 you normally step down to give your seat to a new person. So it was quite a natural thing for me that when you look for the next years to come, you want to find an interesting project which has a lot of challenges and where you can use your skills.
My first impression when I came here earlier this year was that this is going to be a challenging project but we have been making significant progress in a lot of respects, especially now that we have extended the TAP route to start in Komotini in Greece, creating a “one-stop-shop”. I definitely believe that we can come out positively. From now on it’s a question of making sure that we respond to the Shah Deniz Consortium’s eight criteria and fully satisfy their requirements. I think following the 1st of October submissions, there will be extremely interesting negotiations and hopefully positive conclusions within the next three to six months in relation to TAP! . . .
HSE, CRM and QRM Director
It’s really the summary of quite a lot of the activities I’ve been doing over the years but actually the TAP project itself is pretty exciting. It’s not often you get to build a new access corridor into Europe!
I came to the project just over a year ago and was surprised at how advanced it was, actually. I have to say that my experience of dropping in to other projects is generally speaking, that they’re not particularly advanced and it requires a whole load of stuff to be carried out but clearly before my time somebody had been doing a pretty good job on HSE, CSR and all of those things, because we were a long way down the line. It’s not to say there weren’t challenges but you had much more to work with than I have to say I’m used to.
The biggest challenge is having to deal with several different countries. They all have different ways of tackling the same problem and what we have to do is get a high level performance across all three countries in a consistent way. And so moulding our activities and their activities to get one consistent way of doing it is what we’re after. And that’s one of the reasons why we’ve chosen to benchmark ourselves against the performance standards of the EBRD (the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development). It helps you structure things like the environmental and social impact assessments and all of the other activities we do in such a way that it’s acceptable to a wide range of stakeholders along the pipeline, including authorities.
How would you sum up what TAP is about for you?
It depends a little bit on who I’d be talking to. For my mother, I like to tell her that my project is to create the physical and commercial link between the two old capitals of the Roman Empire, Constantinople (nowadays Istanbul) and Rome. That’s what it is actually. But drilling down into that, it’s about creating the missing link between the Caspian resources and the European market in the most efficient and safe way. That is our raison d’être.
Well obviously the headline is that TAP will open this new gas corridor from the Caspian area bringing security of supply into Europe. What I do, is enable the pipeline to operate in an environmentally effective way and a safe way. So my role is to make sure that in producing this pipeline we minimise to the greatest extent possible our impact on the environment and also we make sure that it’s safe not only for our own people but also the communities around us.
TAP is really aiming to open up the fourth corridor of energy supplies to a Europe that needs energy and diversification of supply. We know that future gas sources are in Asia and Arabia and from this point of view it is a very natural pipeline project that we know will be for the long term and should be a safe investment. Another important advantage for Europe is the countries we’re going through which are undeveloped with respect to energy, particularly in gas. They are mostly using coal and oil in that area so you can see that this will give you an opportunity to, in a more efficient way, develop this area as an industrial region. This will actually open up and maybe strengthen the integration of this part of Europe with the rest, so there are a lot of things you can say about the secondary benefits of such a project and if we succeed, history will have been made!