Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb.18
By Leman Zeynalova – Trend:
Tender procedures for construction of the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB) are expected to be finalized in May 2019, Bulgarian Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova said in an exclusive interview with Trend.
She noted that the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria is a key project for Bulgaria and the countries of the region.
“The construction of the Interconnector Greece – Bulgaria aims to ensure diversification not only of routes but also of natural gas sources for Bulgaria and the region. Through IGB, as part of the development of the Southern Gas Corridor, Bulgaria and its neighbouring countries will have access to alternative supplies from the Caspian region and from the existing and future LNG terminals. The project provides infrastructure for the transport of natural gas from the Southern gas corridor and ensures security of supply for Bulgaria and SEE. It is defined by the EC as a “Project of common interest” and is included in the list of priority projects of CESEC,” said the minister.
Petkova went on to add that the implementation of the project is also strategically important due to the many opportunities for connection with other major energy projects.
“The project creates connectivity opportunities and is in synergy with other future projects in the region, such as the LNG terminal in Alexandroupolis in northern Greece and the EastMed gas pipeline project, which will provide gas supplies from the Eastern Mediterranean - from the offshore gas fields of Israel and Cyprus, and in the future from Egypt. IGB is of strategic importance for the implementation of the Vertical Gas Corridor, supported by the EC, connecting the networks of Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Hungary,” said Bulgaria’s energy minister.
Petkova pointed out that the project will seriously contribute to the development of the concept of the Bulgarian country for the implementation of the key regional “Balkan” gas hub.
“The implementation of the gas hub also creates opportunities for the transport of Azerbaijan natural gas through the gas interconnector Greece – Bulgaria, the gas-transmission system of Bulgartransgaz EAD, the new infrastructure of the gas hub and the remaining interconnections – to Romania, Serbia and Macedonia and to their neighbouring countries respectively,” said the minister.
Further, she noted that to provide supplies for the hub from different sources, Bulgaria will be involved through Bulgartransgaz as a shareholder in the construction of the LNG terminal near Alexandroupolis.
“The decision was taken at the end of last year. Thus we will also be able to provide supplies from more distant destinations, including the USA,” added Petkova.
She noted that the project company ICGB is currently actively working to complete the tender procedures for selection of line-pipe supplier, EPC and owner’s engineer.
“We expect these activities to be finalized successfully in May this year. We plan to start the construction of IGB immediately afterwards and to end it in 2020 in synergy with the launch of TAP, with the aim of ensuring 1 bcm per year under the long term contract with the Consortium Shah Deniz. The issues of the structure and the sources of financing of the project are fully resolved.I would like to share that on 21.12.2018 ICGB signed a contract with the Managing Authority of the Operational Programme “Innovation and Competitiveness” for the award of a grant of EUR 39 million under the project for construction of the interconnector Greece – Bulgaria,” said Petkova.
IGB is a gas pipeline, which will allow Bulgaria to receive Azerbaijani gas, in particular, the gas produced from Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz 2 gas and condensate field. IGB is expected to be connected to TAP via which gas from the Shah Deniz field will be delivered to the European markets.
The initial capacity of IGB will be 3 billion cubic meters of gas.
Follow the author on Twitter: @Lyaman_Zeyn