Greek-Bulgaria pipe starts pumping gas to Moldova
A newly-commissioned gas pipeline connecting Greece and Bulgaria has delivered its first supplies to Moldova, the project operator announced last week, providing the east European state with an alternative to Russian volumes.
Moldova gets most of its gas from Russia's Gazprom, enabling Moscow to exert pressure on the country this year, including by cutting gas supplies by 40%. Moldova is technically capable of importing gas from Romania, and Ukraine, but even though the price of its Russian gas is high, it is still cheaper than those supplies available on the spot market.
The Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB) pipeline is currently capable of flowing 3bn m3/year of gas to Bulgaria, providing the country and others in the region with access to imported LNG brought ashore in Greece and Azeri pipe gas supplies arriving via the Southern Gas Corridor. Over four-fifths of the pipeline's capacity is now booked, and the remainder is on offer at Europe's PRISMA and RBP platforms.
The pipeline's launch at the start of October came at a crucial time for Bulgaria, which was heavily reliant on Russian gas but lost its supply earlier this year when the government in Sofia refused the Kremlin's demand for payment in rubles. IGB is currently providing a third of the gas that Bulgaria consumes.
The pipeline's capacity is set to be expanded at a later point to 5bn m3/yr.