Region, IGB pipeline certified for commercial operation

, SEE Energy News

Bulgarian Commission for Energy and Water Regulation (KEVR) and Greek Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE) granted the final joint certification decision of ICGB, the project company for gas interconnection between Bulgaria and Greece (IGB pipeline), as the second independent transmission operator of natural gas in Bulgaria.

With the adopted decision, all regulatory requirements for putting the pipeline into commercial operation after 1 July have been fulfilled, which is of strategic importance for the diversification and security of gas supplies for Bulgaria and southeastern Europe. The decision of the national energy regulators of Bulgaria and Greece was adopted after a successful conciliation procedure with the European Commission. The whole process was completed in a short time, given the extremely important role of the interconnector.

KEVR Chairman Stanislav Todorov said that, with this decision, the energy regulators of Greece and Bulgaria guarantee that the IGB pipeline will provide free access to commercial companies from different countries and they will be able to supply natural gas to Bulgaria. It is indicative that already large gas trading companies such as Shell and Vitol are applying for a license in Bulgaria. According to him, the ICGB certification opens the Bulgarian market for supplies from all over the world and any company following the rules will be able to reserve capacity.

ICGB Executive Director Teodora Georgieva said that the gas interconnection between Bulgaria and Greece is a project of great importance for both countries and for the entire region, given the complicated international situation. Given the situation in the region, the company is already actively talking about the possibility of upgrading the capacity of the pipeline to 5 billion cubic meters per year, which would open up many new export opportunities to the Western Balkans, Moldova and Ukraine.

The IGB gas pipeline is designed to connect with the Greek national gas transmission system and Trans-Adriatic (TAP) gas pipeline near Komotini in Greece, and with the Bulgarian gas transmission system near Stara Zagora. The total length of the interconnector is 182 kilometers, with a pipe diameter of 32 inches and a design capacity of up to 3 billion cubic meters per year in the direction of Greece-Bulgaria. Depending on the market interest in using a larger capacity and the possibilities of the neighboring gas transmission systems, the capacity of the gas pipeline is designed to increase to 5 billion cubic meters per year with additional construction of a compressor station. In a longer-term, the IGB pipeline will be able to transport natural gas from Israel and Cyprus, as well as additional volumes from Azerbaijan and other countries.

The IGB project is implemented by the joint venture company ICGB, registered in Bulgaria in 2011 with Bulgarian Energy Holding EAD (50 %) and IGI Poseidon (50 %) as shareholders. The co- shareholder IGI Poseidon is a company registered in Greece, with Greek company DEPA International Projects (50 %) and Italian energy group Edison (50 %) as shareholders.