Bulgaria-Greece Pipe to be Ready 2020
The Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB) is planned to be commissioned in 2020, Bulgarian energy minister Temenuzhka Petkova said, following a meeting with Azerbaijani foreign minister Elmar Mammadyarov October 31. The line will also be open for third-party business and will transport gas in both directions.
The 182-km, $22omn IGB is designed to carry a volume of 3bn m3/yr, of which 1bn m3/yr will come from Azerbaijan’s state-run Socar, and will connect to the Trans Adriatic pipeline (TAP) in 2020.
The two ministers also discussed Socar’s investment in the project: “IGB is a strategic project. At present, the tender procedure is being completed ... the construction of the gas pipeline will begin in late 2018 - early 2019. The commissioning of IGB is planned for 2020,” Petkova said.
Bulgaria also plans to become a hub for Russian gas, connecting to TurkStream 2, which has a capacity of 15.75bn m3/yr. Recently, Russia's president Vladimir Putin said he sees new opportunities for Sofia to play a significant role in the transit of Russian gas to Europe. However, an official told NGW that the infrastructure required in Bulgaria for the country to take on this role will cost an estimated €2-4bn, while additional investment would also be required to transit gas to potential markets such as Romania, Moldova, Macedonia, Greece, Serbia, Hungary and Austria.
Pektova added that Azerbaijani gas is being considered as one of a number of potential sources for distribution through the Balkan gas hub; a market that Russia dominates at present. “Diversification of supplies and competition in the European energy market is important,” the Bulgarian minister said.
Last year, Bulgaria imported 3.33bn m3 from Russia and transited around 14bn m3 Gazprom gas to Turkey and 2.93bn m3 to Greece, according to Gazprom. A Bulgarian official told NGW that the country received just over $200mn in transit fees.