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Making History: My Five Years with TAP

01 February 2015

 

As our former Managing Director Kjetil Tungland prepares to hand over the reins to his successor, we asked him to look back on five successful years leading the project, including the historic moment in June 2013 when TAP was selected as the pipeline to transport Shah Deniz II gas to European markets. 

 

Looking back, what has the TAP MD role meant for you?

Working with such a fantastic team of professionals from more than 25 nations really is a once in a lifetime experience. My challenge has been to make myself worthy of the privilege to lead this team and in addition try to stake out the path to success.

The TAP project is literally history in the making. It is a critical link in the Southern Gas Corridor and a key element in creating a new energy route to transport new gas supplies to Europe. As such, it has been one of the most exciting as well as challenging assignments in my career. It has allowed me to gain tremendous insights into a complex project with so many different facets, challenges and interests both on a commercial and technical level but also in terms of the strategic choices and political interests that so many important stakeholders have in the project.

It has certainly been a journey of learning. I have learned a lot from my talented colleagues in our departments and country teams. This has certainly allowed me to grow as a person and a leader.

 

What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in the past five years?

That success can only be achieved by empowered employees committed to a clear corporate strategy. There have been several such milestones – especially in the Shah Deniz decision phase – and TAP has managed to meet all of these milestones successfully, precisely as a result of working with a shared ambition and goal in mind.   

 

Name a memorable moment at TAP.

It is not every day that your project is selected for implementation as part of one of the most complex and strategic energy value chains in the world. June 2013 brought well-deserved recognition for our team’s hard work and efforts. However, after a rather short-lived moment of celebration, it also brought home the realisation that a new and even more challenging journey into the project execution phase had begun.

 

Is there an achievement that you feel particularly proud of?

A somewhat young project in 2010, TAP has evolved into an effective and well-established organisation, fully equipped for seeing the pipeline commissioned. So I think I’m most proud of this transformation and the shape TAP is currently in: our project is fully on schedule, procurement is well underway with several milestones reached by the end of 2014, our land easement and acquisition is on track, and the environmental and social impact assessments have been approved in the three host countries.

Moreover, I cannot help but feel proud of the culture we have managed to build at TAP and our genuine commitment to the values of excellence, people, integrity and responsibility.

 

What advice would you give our new MD Ian Bradshaw?

While our progress has been steady, there are always new issues emerging. There is a huge challenge ahead in the construction of an 870-kilometre pipeline which has an impact on more than 55,000 land owners and users and crosses three countries.

I believe that Ian is the right leader to take the company forward through what will be a very intense and demanding phase. He has decades of relevant project experience and expertise. His industry knowledge and leadership style are exceptional. I wish him every success in his new assignment.

 

Is there a final message that you would like to give?

I would like to thank the TAP Board, our shareholders and not to forget our host and home governments for their support over the years. Last but not least, I would like to wish the whole of the TAP team the very best of luck and success in this new implementation phase of the project. I thank them all for their dedication, hard work and friendship. It has been an honour and a pleasure!

And remember, there is only one way to build something like this: piece by piece, section by section.