BAKU, Azerbaijan, October 28. The Independent Transmission Operator ICGB has utilized the final tranche of the long-term loan under the European Investment Bank (EIB) for the implementation of the Greece-Bulgaria gas interconnector, the ICGB told Trend.
The total value of the project is EUR 253 million, which is secured through funding from the shareholders BEH and IGI Poseidon, EUR 109.9 million in the form of a loan from the EIB, EUR 45 million under the European Energy Program for Recovery (EEPR) and EUR 39 million allocated under the Operational Program "Innovations and Competitiveness" (OPIC 2014-2020).
Funding is being utilized by ICGB in separate tranches under each program only after detailed inspections on site and audits of all the necessary documentation, so as to certify the quality performance of all activities for the construction and implementation of the IGB pipeline. To date, the last payment due has been made by the EIB following a successful audit by the independent experts from RSK Environment Limited.
By the end of this calendar year, requests for utilization of the last remaining payments under OPIC and EEPR will be submitted.
Since the start of the construction phase at the end of 2019, ICGB has undergone a total of 6 independent audits in line with the social and environmental commitments that the company must fulfill as part of the EIB financing conditions. All inspections were completed successfully, establishing no serious deviations from the set norms and standards.
In the phase of commercial operation of the gas pipeline, this type of independent audits - including on site - will be carried out once a year. Part of ICGB's commitments as the operator of the gas interconnector include the effective management of the project's impact on biodiversity in the regions along the pipeline’s route. For this purpose, the company has introduced a 5-year monitoring period, during which the successful implementation of all restoration and bio regeneration activities from the construction phase will be tracked.
IGB connects Bulgaria with the Southern Gas Corridor and enables secure supplies from a variety of sources to several countries in Southeast and Central Europe, including Moldova and Ukraine.
The pipeline is set to transport 1 billion cubic meters of Azerbaijani gas per year to Bulgaria. Its capacity is 3 billion cubic meters with the possibility of expanding to 5 billion cubic meters per year.
Follow the author on Twitter: @Lyaman_Zeyn