PM Borissov: The dream of full diversification will come true in a month

Over 440 people work on the Gas Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria on both sides of the border

On 1 January, Bulgaria will get Azeri natural gas. The dream of achieving full diversification will come true in a month. This was announced by Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, who made another inspection of the gas connection with Greece.

“The pandemic is a pandemic, but the work must go on,” PM Borissov said. “What was required of us - a bank guarantee, faster payment - everything is done. The agreement has been signed. The European Commission has given the greenlight, and so has the European Investment Bank. We are now moving according to plan,” he said.

PM Borissov stressed that the project was making progress at full speed. “We did what we had to do so that not a day will be lost on this extremely important geostrategic project,” he said, adding that Bulgaria holds a 20% stake in the LNG terminal at Alexandroupolis and that 100% diversification will be achieved once gas from sources different from the current ones starts flowing from South to North. He explained that he had agreed with Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis to meet when the pipes reach the border.

Borissov underlined that the pipes could reach Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, North Macedonia and Hungary.

The owner of the Greek company Avax that is the contractor of the project, as well as Bulgarian Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova, were also present. She pointed out that 1.6km of pipes pass under the Studen Kladenets Reservoir and the Maritsa river.

Later Borissov wrote on Facebook that more than 440 people work on the Greece-Bulgaria gas interconnection on both sides of the border. So far, over 159km of line pipes have been delivered, 72km of which have been welded, and over 11km of pipes have been laid and covered. “Through the construction of this important project we will have access to natural gas from Azerbaijan and liquefied gas from various sources. Thus, we achieve 100% diversification. The project will be of great benefit to all Bulgarians and to our neighbours,” the Bulgarian PM wrote.

Meanwhile, the Council of Ministers announced that the IGB gas pipeline would be connected with the Greek national gas transmission system and with the Trans-Adriatic gas pipeline (TAP) in the Komotini region of Greece, and with the Bulgarian national gas transmission system in the area of Stara Zagora.

The prime ministers of the two countries personally gave the launch of the construction of the Greece-Bulgaria gas interconnection on 22 May 2019. The interconnector is one of the seven priority projects for the security and competitiveness of the EU energy market. It is also extremely important from the point of view of ensuring diversification of gas sources and supplies to Bulgaria and the Southeast European region.

The interconnection will lead to a real diversification of natural gas sources - through it Bulgaria will get Azeri natural gas through TAP, in addition, through the interconnector Bulgaria will be able to receive supplies through the Alexandroupolis LNG terminal for liquefied natural gas from the US, Qatar, Algeria, Israel, Egypt and others. The gas connection between Bulgaria and Greece has a total length of 182km, of which 150km are on Bulgarian territory. Its technical capacity is from 3 to 5 billion cubic metres per year. The project is worth €220m.

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