Bulgaria May Benefit From New Pipeline Link

September 2009 Vol. 236 No. 9

Bulgaria reached a deal with Greece and Italy for an interconnector to the Italy-Turkey-Greece Interconnector (ITGI), which will allow it to decrease its dependence on Russian gas imports and improve its energy security.

Following a deal between Bulgarian Energy Holding, Edison SpA, and Greek natural gas monopoly DEPA, Bulgaria will be connected to the ITGI pipeline, allowing for the import of some 1 bcm/y of Azeri gas starting in 2015. The deal allows Bulgaria to diversify its supply sources, a long-sought goal which became a painful necessity following the gas shock the country experienced in January.

Establishment of the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB) will also complement the ongoing integration of gas grids between European Union (EU) member states, which is seen as a mechanism to improve Europe’s ability to deal with potential crises in the future.

The link, dubbed Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB), will be 160 km and run from the northern Greek city of Komotini to the city of Stara Zagora in the central part of southern Bulgaria. The IGB is expected to cost some 120 million euro (US$167 million), with 45 million to be provided by the EU. The pipeline will have capacity to transport between 3-5 bcm/y of gas, although the agreement envisions Bulgaria receiving only 1 bcm annually.

The IGB will tap into the gas transported via the ITGB pipeline, which was initially designed to bring 8 bcm/y of Azeri gas to Italy and 1.5 bcm/y each to Greece and Turkey. While the Turkey-Greece stretch with capacity of 7 bcm/y was inaugurated in 2007, the stretch between Greece and Italy is not scheduled for completion until 2012 and there is potential for further delays.

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