Greece and Bulgaria are close to signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the storage of Greek natural gas at Bulgaria’s underground gas storage facility at Chiren.
According to the MoU, Bulgaria will maintain natural gas reserve for Greek Public Gas Corporation (DEPA) at Chiren underground gas storage facility in the amount of 400,000 MWh.
Greece does not have any gas storage facilities besides the one at Revythoussa. Therefore, according to an EU regulation, it should maintain strategic reserves equal to 15 % of its annual consumption in another EU country. In this context, it has already signed an MoU with Italy, where the Greek importing companies have started storing gas, and similar agreement with Bulgaria is expected soon.
Bulgaria plans is to offset the quantities that will be stored by Greek companies with quantities of either Azeri gas or LNG intended for the neighboring country. In other words, Greece will be able to retain the corresponding quantities instead of waiting for their transfer from Bulgaria, thereby ensuring it will be able to use them in any case.
Greek Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE) mandates gas importing companies to maintain gas reserves from 1 November 2022 until 21 March 2023 either in Italy or another European country, provided the cost is not higher than what it has determined for Italy. Total reserves amount to the equivalent of 1.14 TWh.
For its part, Bulgaria is looking forward to further assistance from Greece for its gas supply, as this winter is the first it will need to go without Russian gas, which until April 2022 covered almost 100 % of the total annual demand of 33 TWh. In the period after April and especially since the launch of gas interconnection between the two countries, Greece has evolved into a key gateway for and at the same time a source of natural gas for the supply of the Bulgarian market.