Bulgaria, Commissioning of the gas link could be delayed until autumn

, SEE Energy News

ICGB, a joint venture company of Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH) and IGI Poseidon, in which Greek Public Gas Corporation (DEPA) and Italian Edison hold equal stakes, in charge of the project for the construction of gas interconnection between Bulgaria and Greece, said that the commissioning of the gas link could be delayed until autumn.

Executive Director of ICGB Teodora Georgieva said that the company still aims for 1 July as the pipeline’s commissioning date, but that deadline proved to be a huge challenge, adding that the pressure from the market to put the gas interconnection into operation is also great. She said that the timely completion of gas metering station near the Greek city of Komotini will be of great importance for meeting the initial deadline.

In January, ICGB said that a total of 1.57 billion cubic meters, more than a half of its capacity, has already been reserved. Four out of the five shippers that have booked capacity are entirely new to the Bulgarian market, which leads to a conclusion that market interest in the project will only be increased after its commercial launch.

The interconnection was planned to be commissioned by the end of 2020, when Bulgaria’s 25-year deal with the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) to import 1 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year starts, but it was delayed on several occasions.

182 kilometers long Bulgaria-Greece gas interconnection is designed with the capacity between 3 and 5 billion cubic meters of gas per year, but it could be extended up to 10 billion cubic meters in case of commercial interest and economical justification. The construction of the pipeline officially started on 22 May 2019.