Bulgaria, Greece sign key gas link deal
SOFIA – Agence France-Presse
REUTERS photoBulgaria’s state energy holding BEH and Greek-Italian joint venture ISI Poseidon signed on Dec. 10 a key investment deal to build a new pipeline linking Bulgaria and Greece’s gas networks, officials said.
“This project is extremely important as it will open the way for real diversification of (Bulgaria’s) gas sources,” Bulgarian Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova said after the signing.
EU member Bulgaria is almost totally dependent on Russia for its annual consumption of about 3.0 billion cubic meters of gas, and receives its supplies via the highly insecure route through Ukraine.
The new interconnector is the first step in linking the Bulgarian gas distribution network to those of neighboring countries, in order to guarantee supplies in the event of a cut in Russian deliveries.
The pipeline, which will run between the Bulgarian town of Dimitrovgrad and the Greek town of Komotini, will also allow Bulgaria to receive gas shipped from Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan and Turkey are developing a joint project, the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP), to carry Caspian gas to Turkey before it is marketed to Europe.
Greek Environment and Energy Minister Panos Skourletis hailed the project’s “strategic importance” for the security of gas deliveries in the whole region, once it becomes fully operational in mid-2018.
The 182-kilometer (113-mile) pipeline is planned to have an initial annual capacity of 3.0 billion cubic meters of gas, which could be increased to 5.5 billion.
The link will cost a total of 220 million euros ($241 million), including 45 million euros of EU funding.