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    Habau Signs Final Bulgaria-Romania Pipeline Contract



A Danube river undecrossing for interconnector Bulgaria-Romania will be built by Austria's Habau PPS Pipeline Systems

by: Kama

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Natural Gas & LNG News, Security of Supply, Balkans/SEE Focus, Gas for Transport, Infrastructure, Pipelines, News By Country, Bulgaria, Romania

Habau Signs Final Bulgaria-Romania Pipeline Contract

Austrian engineering firm Habau last week signed a €4.5mn contract for building a section of the Bulgaria-Romania gas pipeline under the Danube river. The deal was signed in Sofia by the transmission system operators of Bulgaria and Romania: Bulgartransgaz and Transgaz  and Habau PPS Pipeline Systems. Witnessing the signature was Bulgaria’s energy minister Temenuzhka Petkova, the energy ministry said in a statement.

According to original schedule the 25-km link between Bulgaria and Romania was to be launched in 2013, but it was delayed by technical problems under the Danube.

The construction of this 2.1-km long river section is the last stage in the project. “These 2 km turned out to be the most difficult,” the minister commented after the signing ceremony, Focus newswire reported.

Habau now has four months to cross the Danube, allowing the pipeline to become operational later this year.

"We hope that after four months Bulgaria will have the first operational interconnection, which is a real step towards the realization of the principles of the European Energy Union: security and sustainability of supply, competitiveness and affordable energy to consumers," Petkova said in a statement.

According to Petkova, Bulgaria will continue actively working on interconnector projects, expansion and modernization of the national transmission network and the development of local gas production aiming to increase its overall region energy security. Bulgaria is also considering joining work on a planned LNG terminal project in Alexandroupolis in Greece.

The Bulgaria-Romania interconnector project will connect Giurgi (Romania) and Ruse (Bulgaria) with a new two-way high-pressure natural gas pipeline.

It will have a maximum capacity of 1.5bn m³/year. Bulgaria originally considered a Romania link as a way to reduce its dependence on Russian gas imports and to avoid repeating the scenario, when the Russian-Ukrainian gas crisis led Bulgaria to freeze in winter 2009.

Sofia, which gets more than 90% of its gas from Russia's Gazprom, has looked for alternative supply after Moscow cancelled its South Stream pipeline project in 2014.

Bulgaria has ambitious plans to establish itself as the dominant gas storage and distribution hub in Balkans but the market is still undeveloped and reports of Gazprom cutting supplies to the state holding company’s sole competitor in gas supply, Overgas, at the start of the year will not inspire confidence.

Bulgaria has started building a gas link to Greece (IGB), which will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz 2 field in Caspian. Bulgaria plans to buy 1bn m³/yr from Shah Deniz, once the consortium developing the field begins gas exports to Europe scheduled for early 2020.


Kama Mustafayeva