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Azerbaijan: Energy Hopes vs. Italian Olive Groves

The Trans-Adriatic Pipeline is a key element of Azerbaijan’s efforts to export its natural gas to European markets. It is also a cornerstone of the European Union’s strategy to weaken Russia’s hold on European gas markets. But the project has faced stiff opposition from local environmental activists along its route. (Photo: Sputnik/ Alexey Kudenko)

The Trans-Adriatic Pipeline is a key element of Azerbaijan’s efforts to export its greatest source of wealth, its Caspian Sea natural gas deposits, to European markets. It is also a cornerstone of the European Union’s strategy to weaken Russia’s hold on European gas markets.
 
The pipeline’s route, however, passes through ancient olive groves and over pristine beaches in the Italian region of Puglia, which relies on that bucolic landscape for its major industry, tourism.
 
That has set up a standoff between global energy interests and local environmental activists. And with a December referendum in Italy that reinforced local governments’ autonomy, the anti-pipeline activists have – if only temporarily – gained the upper hand.
 

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Joshua Kucera is the Turkey/Caucasus editor at EurasiaNet, and author of The Bug Pit. Zaur Shiriyev is an Academy Associate at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House). Monica Ellena contributed reporting to this article.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development was funding the pipeline. It has been corrected to note that the bank is considering funding.

Azerbaijan: Energy Hopes vs. Italian Olive Groves

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