Bulgaria: Southeastern Gas Corridor crucial for energy security

, SEE Energy News

The successful implementation of the strategic project for the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) is a crucial part of what has been achieved with regards to the diversification of gas supplies in the past six years, said Bulgarian Minister of Energy Temenuzhka Petkova, and according to her, the project boosts the energy security of Bulgaria, Southeastern Europe and the whole EU. Energy ministers of more than ten countries and representatives of the European Union, the World Bank, the European Bank for Development and the Asian Development Bank discussed the implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor, the completion of the Trans Adriatic (TAP) pipeline and other key energy projects such as the gas interconnector between Bulgaria and Greece (IGB) and the Southern Caucasus pipeline. Minister Petkova said that the energy sector of EU countries is faced with serious challenges, among which is the security of energy supplies in the long term. Diversification of sources and routes for natural gas supplies and the liberalization of the natural gas market are among the key priorities of the Bulgarian Government and through their implementation Bulgaria will successfully tackle this challenge. Following up on these priorities, as of 31 December 2020, Bulgaria has been receiving Azeri natural gas along the Southern Gas Corridor. With the implementation of a contract for the supply of 1 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually from the Shah Deniz gas field in the next 25 years, Azerbaijan will become Bulgaria’s second gas supplier. Bulgaria is an integral part of the development of the Southern Gas Corridor through the Greece-Bulgaria interconnector which has an important geostrategic significance to the diversification of gas supplies, added Minister Petkova. According to her, the project is key to the implementation of a joint initiative between Greece, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary for the construction of a Vertical Gas Corridor for gas supplies from the south to the north. Despite the delay of the project due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Corridor is expected to be commissioned in the second half of 2021. Minister Petkova underscored the role of the intersystem connectivity with neighboring countries and the participation of Bulgartransgaz as a shareholder in the LNG terminal at Alexandroupoli in northern Greece in achieving the strategic objectives in relation to diversification of gas supplies. During the meeting representatives of ICGB, joint venture company in charge of Bulgaria-Greece interconnection project, said that currently the contracts for the manufacture and delivery of the pipes for the interconnector has been successfully completed. Some 160 kilometers of the 182 kilometers route have been cleared and pipes have been laid out over 130 kilometers of the route in preparation for the next stage of construction. In the next few days pipes over 100 kilometers are expected to be welded. The Greek company Avax which is in charge of the design and the construction of the interconnector projects that it will be completed at the end of 2021.