BAKU, Azerbaijan, December 11. The Serbian city of Nis hosted a ceremony to mark the start of the Serbia-Bulgaria interconnector, which will offer access to Azerbaijani natural gas.
Energy expert Ilham Shaban, in his statement to Trend, said that Azerbaijan is expanding the geography of gas sales every year.
"Serbia will soon become an Azerbaijani gas importer. The formalities associated with the commissioning of this pipeline in Europe should be followed. In any event, its commissioning represents a step toward increasing Azerbaijan's gas supply geography. As a gas producer, Azerbaijan now has the chance to sell its raw resources on the market. If we look at our country's gas exports, we can see that Azerbaijan has transitioned from a gas importer to an exporter since 2007. Georgia and Türkiye were the first to purchase Azerbaijani gas," the expert emphasized.
He mentioned that from the last day of 2020, gas supplies to Greece and Italy started, and from 2021, to Bulgaria.
"Romania has entered the ranks of importers as of this year. By the end of this year, Hungary is anticipated to begin commercial imports. Serbia and Azerbaijan have agreed to acquire and sell 400 million cubic meters of gas in the coming year. It is expected to raise gas volumes to one billion cubic meters beginning in 2027. Slovakia and Albania are two additional European countries on the list of potential purchasers of Azerbaijani gas. Slovakia plans to purchase 1 billion cubic meters of gas, while Albania plans to purchase 700 million cubic meters. The commercial deal has yet to be inked, although work in this regard is already starting," he added.
The Serbia-Bulgaria gas interconnector (Nis-Dimitrovgrad-Bulgaria) project is partially funded by EU grants totaling 49.6 million euros, as well as a 25 million euro soft credit from the European Investment Bank, which Serbia will use to build its portion of the gas pipeline. The Republic of Serbia has set aside 15 million euros for preparatory work and 7.5 million euros for design, respectively.
Currently, gas accounts for 13 percent of Serbia's primary energy use, and the country can only obtain it from two sources: the Balkan Stream pipeline and Hungary. The gas interconnector connecting Serbian and Bulgarian gas networks will contribute to the diversification of energy sources in Serbia and the Western Balkan region by providing Serbia with more secure and stable supplies from various gas grid systems, particularly Azerbaijan and the Alexandroupolis LNG terminal in Greece.
The new pipeline will connect the Serbian network in Nis to the Bulgarian network in Sofia. The Serbian section of the pipeline is 109 kilometers long.
It will have the capacity to pump 1.8 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year, which is comparable to 60 percent of Serbia's entire annual consumption, with a pipe diameter of 700 mm and a maximum pressure of 55 bar.
In addition to Nis, the pipeline will feature three more metering stations in Bela Palanka, Pirot, and Dimitrovgrad, providing inhabitants, schools, hospitals, and businesses in these three cities and regions of Serbia with access to gas supplies for heating and industrial output. Construction began in January 2022.
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