Trans-Mediterranean Gas Pipeline

From Global Energy Monitor
This article is part of the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor.

Trans-Mediterranean Gas Pipeline is an international pipeline linking gas from Algeria to Italy via Tunisia and Sicily.[1]


The pipeline begins in Algeria and runs 550 kilometers to the Tunisian border. From Tunisia, the line stretches 370 kilometers to El Haouaria in the Cap Bon province of Tunisia and then crosses the 155 kilometer Sicilian channel. The pipeline passes through Mazara del Vallo in Sicily and traverses 155 kilometers in Sicily, eventually reaching the Strait of Messina. It reaches the Italian mainland after passing 1,400km and later moves North to Slovenia.[2]

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Project Details

  • Owners: Sonatrach (Algeria and Sicilian Channel portion), Sotugat (Tunisia), ENI (Italy and Sicilian Channel portion)
  • Operator: Sonatrach (Algeria), Sergaz (Tunisia), Trans-Mediterranean Pipeline Company (Sicilian Channel), Snam Rete (Italy)
  • Current capacity: 33.5 billion cubic meters per year
  • Proposed capacity:
  • Length: 2,475 km
  • Status: Operating
  • Start Year: 1983


During the 1960s the Trans-Mediterranean Pipeline project was seen as the most effective way to monetise Algeria’s extensive gas reserves and to enable Italy to expand its natural gas consumption. A preliminary feasibility study was conducted in 1969 and the first route survey completed during 1970.

Italian stated-owned Eni pursued the construction of the subsea pipeline in favour of proposals to ship LNG across the Mediterranean and in 1973, signed a contract with the Algerian Government for the supply of 414 billion cubic feet of gas from the Hassi R’Mel Gas Field for a period of 25 years.[2]

Deepwater Frontiers

In 1975 Sonatrach and Eni awarded Eni subsidiary, Saipem, a $237 million contract to lay three 20 inch gas transmission pipelines across the Sicilian Channel in water depths of up to 610 m and a further four pipelines across the Straits of Messina from Sicily to the Italian mainland.

At the time, worldwide experience in design, construction and maintenance of offshore pipelines was limited to water depths of 150 meters. The Trans-Mediterranean Pipeline project necessitated the research and development of new technologies to overcome the engineering and construction hurdles presented by the pipeline’s depth. Saipem constructed the pipelines at a depth of 610 meters and broke the world record at that time.[2]


The Trans-Mediterranean (Transmed) is a 2,475km-long natural gas pipeline built to transport natural gas from Algeria to Italy via Tunisia and Sicily. Commissioned in 1983, it is the longest international gas pipeline system and had a capacity of 27 bcm/year as of 2009. However, since then, the pipeline's capacity was expanded up to 33 billion cubic meters per year.[1][3]

The Algerian section is operated by Sonatrach, the Algerian State Authority. The Tunisian section is owned and controlled by Sotugat and Sergaz respectively. The channel of Sicily is controlled by Trans-Mediterranean Pipeline Company (TMPC), a joint venture of Eni and Sonatrach. Snam Rete Gas, a subsidiary of Eni, operates the Italian section.[1]

he front end, the Transmed pipeline is connected to the Hassi R’Mel gas field which is the largest onshore gas field in Algeria, producing 2,000bcm/y of natural gas. The pipeline links to Italy at Minerbio situated near Bologna in the Po Valley where gas enters into the natural gas distribution system.[1]

Technical Details

The Transmed pipeline consists of a total of nine compressor stations including one in the Algerian section, three in the Tunisian section, one in Sicily and four in the Italian section. The Algerian and Tunisian sections contain two parallel lines of 48 inches in diameter. The Sicilian section comprises two lines of 20 inches diameter. The Italian section consists of two lines of 42 inches and 48 inches diameter respectively.[1]


The total cost of the Trans-Mediterranean project was $6.25bn. The cost for the Algerian section was $2bn, of which $1.2bn was provided by Italian banks which were guaranteed from Eni and Sonatrach. The Tunisian section cost was $0.95bn, of which $0.65bn was funded by Export Credit Agencies. The Sicilian channel had cost $1.5bn, of which $0.7bn was funded by Export Credit Agencies.[1]

The International Consortium Banks provided $0.8bn each for Algeria and Sicily, and $0.3bn for Tunisia. The European Investment Bank funded $1.8bn for Italian Mainland section.

Articles and resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Trans-Mediterranean Natural Gas Pipeline, Hydrocarbons-Technology, accessed April, 2018
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Trans-Mediterranean Pipeline, Pipelines International, January 5, 2010
  3. Hamid Ould Ahmed, Algeria says Transmed gas line capacity to increase, Reuters, May 31, 2009

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