CSEE Moves to Diversify Gas Supplies
Finding at least three different sources of natural gas supplies in order to reduce dependence on Russian deliveries will be the main task of a new European energy body set up on Monday in Sofia.
According to a statement issued by the Bulgarian government, the high-level group on the construction of gas interconnections in Central and South Eastern Europe (CSEE) will review the region’s gas needs and supplies with attention to be paid to all projects of common interest.
Options for project financing under the European Union’s EUR 315 B investment plan unveiled by EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker last year will also be considered by the high-level group.
The Sofia meeting has brought together European Commission Vice President for Energy Union Maros Sefcovic, EU Climate and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete, Bulgarian government officials as well as representatives of other countries of Central and South Eastern Europe.
The group will operate on political as well as expert level.
The two subgroups will focus on gas interconnections in the region, which had suffered from disruptions in Russian gas supplies caused by price disputes between Russia and Ukraine over the past decade.
The diversification of sources of natural gas supplies to the region in the longer term and ensuring the security of supplies will also be among the tasks of the new regional energy body.
Maros Sefcovic said at the meeting that European countries must show they can work together to improve their gas interconnections.
Miguel Arias Canete commented that in order to diversify its supply sources and routes the CSEE region needs to connect to the Southern Gas Corridor and develop gas resources in the Black Sea as well as LNG terminals.
Greece, Bulgaria and Romania agreed to set up a section within the high-level group charged with the construction of the so-called Vertical Gas Corridor that is seen as an alternative to the cancelled Gazprom-led South Stream gas pipeline project.
Bulgaria’s Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova invited Romania, Greece and Hungary to attend the first meeting on the Vertical Gas Corridor sub-group, to be held in Bulgaria in late March. Hungary has yet to announce whether it will join the sub-group.
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