Region, EC urges accelerating IGB pipeline’s launch

, SEE Energy News

The European Commission (EC) said that it encourages all parties concerned to accelerate the necessary steps to launch the gas interconnection between Greece and Bulgaria (so-called IGB pipeline).

The EC spokesperson said that the Commission has received a letter from former Romanian Minister of Energy Razvan Nicolescu, with the request to take adequate measures to accelerate the launch of the interconnection. IGB pipeline is a Project of Common Interest, and the EC considers this interconnection as a crucial piece of infrastructure needed to diversify energy supplies in southeastern Europe and strengthen the internal energy market. Thus, the EC encourages all parties concerned to accelerate necessary steps to launch the IGB as soon as possible.

The project has received 45 million euros from the European Energy Program for Recovery and 39 million euros from structural funds. Furthermore, the project has received a partial exemption from third-party access rules. The Commission has also approved state aid for public support and access to Bulgarian structural funds. The Commission has held regular contacts with the project company and regulatory authorities as well as Governments of Bulgaria and Greece throughout the construction process, including in the last few months. The Commission is now closely monitoring the final steps of project implementation, including those related to the certification.

Earlier this week, Bulgarian caretaker Minister of Regional Development Ivan Shishkov said that, if the contractor’s activities are better mobilized and organized, it is possible for the IGB pipeline to be completed by 10 September.

The interconnector has an annual capacity of 3 billion cubic meters. As much as 1.57 billion cubic meters of its capacity have already been secured on long-term contracts of up to 25 years. Apart from state supplier Bulgargaz, Greek counterpart DEPA and Italian energy company Edison have reserved long-term capacity, in addition to Azerbaijani SOCAR, which will supply 1 billion cubic meters of gas per year.