Serbia: Gas storage expansion crucial for future gas supply to Serbia

, News Serbia Energy

Deputy Director for Economic Affairs at Srbijagas Milan Zdravkovic said that the expansion of the underground gas storage Banatski Dvor and the construction of new gas storages is the only way to ensure stable gas supply to Serbia after Russia stops gas transport through Ukraine in 2019.

Zdravkovic said that it is still uncertain whether and in what capacity Serbia will be able to use natural gas from the planned Trans-Anatolian (TANAP) and Trans-Adriatic (TAP) gas pipeline projects, which should enable the supply from the Caspian region via Turkey. However, gas from this source will be available in 2020, a year after the announced Russian interruption of supply through Ukraine. In addition, gas interconnection between Greece and Bulgaria which is required in order to get gas deliveries via new pipelines, should be put into operation in 2020 at earliest.

The construction of Serbia-Bulgaria gas interconnection is also a requirement for the use of Caspian natural gas, and further negotiations whether the interconnection will be co-financed by the EU are expected soon. In such circumstances, the increase of domestic gas storage capacity is crucial for the security of gas supply in the future. Besides the expansion of storage in Banatski Dvor, the construction of gas storages in Itebej and Tilva is also considered.

In October 2015, Srbijagas and Gazprom have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in natural gas storage and natural gas sector in general. One of the main aspects of this MoU is the expansion of Banatski Dvor underground gas storage, which would be expanded from current 450 million cubic meters of gas to one billion cubic meters, which would ensure much higher energy security for Serbia. Banatski Dvor underground gas storage, in which Gazprom has 51 % stake, while Serbian state has 49 % through Srbijagas, is the largest gas storage in Southeastern Europe.