Turkey, Bulgaria hard at work on gas project
ANKARA - Anadolu Agency
Bulgarian and Turkish gas operators Bulgartransgaz and Botaş will hold meetings as soon as possible to speed up progress for the Turkey-Bulgaria Gas Interconnection Project “ITB,” Nadezhda Neynsky, Bulgaria’s ambassador to Turkey, told state-run Anadolu Agency on Sept. 25.
Neynsky said Bulgaria attaches great importance to the development of Bulgarian-Turkish relations and sees further potential for cooperation, particularly in the energy sector.
A delegation headed by Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Berat Albayrak in a visit to Sofia on Sept. 7 discussed bilateral energy cooperation with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova.
“Both sides agreed to intensify cooperation in the field of gas and electricity. In this regard, the gas operators Bulgartransgaz and Botaş as well as electricity operators ESO and TEİAŞ will hold bilateral meetings as soon as possible,” the Bulgarian ambassador added.
Bulgartransgaz and Botaş are working on the realization of the joint Turkey-Bulgaria ITB, for which Bulgartransgaz has prepared a feasibility study for the Bulgarian territory co-funded by the EU under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) mechanism, Neynsky said.
“This feasibility study was sent to the Turkish side and Botaş’s position in response is expected,” Neynsky noted.
Bulgaria is paying special attention to this project, which ensures the development of reversible interconnections of gas transmission networks of Bulgartransgaz and Botaş. The project is an opportunity to allow for the diversification of natural gas sources, the supply to both partners and routes, and greater competition while enhancing the security of supply in the region, the ambassador added.
“As part of the priority Southern Gas Corridor, the project is key to the security and diversification of sources and routes for the supply of natural gas to and through Bulgaria and the southeast Europe region. The ITB can provide access to all current and future entry points and sources in Turkey, gas from Azerbaijan and other natural gas as well as LNG spot supplies from existing terminals in Turkey,” she added.
For the realization of the project, on March 12, 2014, a Memorandum of Understanding for the construction of the ITB gas interconnection was signed between the Bulgarian economy, energy and tourism ministries and the Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Ministry. Subsequently, the MoU was put into force on March 28 and a Joint Working Group composed of experts from the companies involved in the implementation of the project was set up.
Meanwhile, Bulgarian and Turkish electricity operators ESO and TEİAŞ are in discussions to increase electricity transmission capacity between the two countries. Turkey declared its interest in extending such a capacity during the meetings in Sofia, according to the Bulgarian ambassador.
In March 2015, when Turkey experienced problems with its power system, Bulgaria’s ESO came to the rescue. ESO made the greatest contribution in assisting Turkey, compared to its neighbors, in the restoration of the power system by providing significant emergency power assistance from Bulgaria to Turkey.