FT: Bulgarian and Greek Pipeline Aims to Cut Gas Dependency on Russia
A small but important gas pipeline eases Southeast Europe's dependency on Russia, the Financial Times notes in a story on the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB).
The development is part of the "moves to increase energy sector competition, boost crossborder supplies and decrease the region’s and Europe’s dependency on Russia for natural gas" which "are afoot in the Balkans."
Construction of the 180 km IGB is due to start next year, counting on EUR 45 B in funding and EUR 100 M guarantee facility from Bulgaria. It will be able to ship 3 to 5 billion cubic meters of gas on a yearly basis starting 2019.
At Stara Zagora, a city in Southern Bulgaria, IGB will also connect with the existing TransBalkan pipeline designed to carry Russian gas from Ukraine, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria.
"The scheme was first mooted in 2009, after Russia cut off midwinter gas supplies to Ukraine in a payment dispute," FT recalls in its Investing in Central & Eastern Europe report.
However, it was difficult to find "backers other than the Sofia and Athens governments" before the Southern Gas Corridor became critical to the EU's efforts to diversify supplies. IGB will now link TAP to Central Europe.
The text also highlights the fact that state-controlled Hungarian, Romanian and Bulgarian gas distributors signed agreements opening their network to alternative domestic and foreign suppliers.
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