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Italy, pipeline, Azeri gas
Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, right, speaks with his Georgian Giorgi Kvirikashvili during their meeting in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki, Tuesday, May 17, 2016. Tsipras and Kvirikashvili with other officials from Turkey, Bulgaria, Azerbaijan and Italy will participate in a ceremony of launch of the construction of Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)

Work starts on new pipeline bringing Azeri gas to Italy

THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — Construction work is starting on a new pipeline project bringing Azeri gas through northern Greece and Albania to Italy, reducing Europe’s energy dependency on Russia.

The Trans Adriatic Pipeline will run for 878 kilometers (550 miles), from Greece’s border with Turkey to southern Italy, and includes a 105-kilometer (65-mile) stretch under the Adriatic Sea. First deliveries to Europe are expected in 2020.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said the project would create 8,000 jobs in his financially struggling country, which has more than 24 percent unemployment.

He spoke at a ceremony Tuesday to mark the beginning of the pipeline’s construction in the northern port city of Thessaloniki.

TAP is a joint project by Britain’s BP, Azerbaijan’s SOCAR, Italy’s Snam, Belgium’s Fluxys, Spain’s Enagas and Swiss Axpo.

Related: Iran and Italy sign several deals during visit by PM Renzi.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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