Bulgaria Says Final Investment Decision Pending on Gas Link with Greece
Shareholders in the project for the construction of a gas transit interconnection between Greece and Bulgaria have agreed on the clauses of the development contract, Bulgaria’s Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova has said.
Now, a date is to be set for the signing of the final investment decision on the ICGB project, Petkova has said on Monday at the Energy Infrastructure Forum in Copenhagen, Denmark, according to a news release of the Energy Ministry in Sofia.
Klaus-Dieter Borchardt, Director from DG Energy of the Internal Energy Market Directorate, European Commission, highlighted progress in the implementation of the ICGB project designed to diversify the EU’s gas sources and supply routes and increase the energy security of the bloc.
Bulgaria's government has decided to issue guarantees worth BGN 215 M (EUR 109 M) for the ICGB project next year.
The pipeline is to be built by a joint venture company comprising the state-owned Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH) and Grrece’s IGI Poseidon.
Petkova also said that Bulgaria has a number of advantages that make it suitable for becoming a regional gas hub in southeastern Europe.
"The strategic geographical location of our country, the procedures for prospecting for oil and gas in the Black Sea that we’ve launched, and the stepped-up construction of interconnections with the neighboring countries are excellent prerequisites for the creation of a regional gas distribution centre in Bulgaria,” Petkova said.
“Turning this concept into reality will be yet another guarantee for Europe's energy security," she added.
Another project of key importance for Bulgaria is the construction of a gas interconnection with EU candidate Serbia.
The interconnector that would link the gas transmission systems of Bulgaria and its western neighbour is an opportunity to boost market integration and increase competition, Petkova said.
Petkova also highlighted Bulgaria’s efforts to modernize and expand its own gas transmission system.
Bulgaria has invested more than EUR 100 M into the rehabilitation and upgrade of its gas supply infrastructure, Petkova said. Last month Bulgaria launched a project for the expansion of Chiren underground gas storage facility defined as a project of common interest by the European Commission.
Up to 30 billion cubic meters of gas could be transited via Bulgaria through the interconnections with Greece, Turkey and Macedonia when they are built and the capacity of the gas depot in Chiren is expanded, Bulgaria’s prime Minister Boyko Borisov said last month.
The 2015 launch of the Energy Infrastructure Forum in Copenhagen was foreseen by the Energy Union package as a key action to advance the development of European energy infrastructure, which is vital to Europe's success in building a secure, competitive and sustainable Energy Union.
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