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Aug 18, 2022 14:24 EEST
August 18 (SeeNews) - The Bulgaria-Greece natural gas pipeline (IGB) has completed its connection to the Bulgarian national gas transmission network operated by Bulgartransgaz, project development company ICGB said on Thursday.
The technical work, which was carried out on Tuesday and Wednesday near the town of Stara Zagora, now technically ensures the physical flow of gas through the pipeline as it links up the operators' grids in both host countries, ICGB said in a press release.
"After completion of the mandatory non-destructive testing of the connection to the Bulgartransgaz network, the section will be backfilled, completing all mechanical work," ICGB added.
The completion to the Bulgarian gas grid brings a step closer the pipeline's commissioning in preparation for the upcoming heating season, as Bulgaria's caretaker government looks to plug a gap in the country's gas supply left after Russia's Gazprom cut off deliveries to Bulgaria in late April.
"The gas pipeline and all adjacent above-ground facilities are completed, technically sound and fully tested with actual quantities of natural gas," ICGB noted.
The 220 million euro ($223.6 million) interconnector has an annual capacity of 3 billion cubic metres (bcm).
As much as 1.57 bcm of its capacity have already been secured on long-term contracts of up to 25 years, with some companies making a debut on the Bulgarian market. Apart from state supplier Bulgargaz, Greek counterpart DEPA and Italian energy company Edison have reserved long-term capacity, in addition to Azerbaijan’s state supplier Socar, which will supply 1 bcm per year.
Since March, IGB has also been connected to the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), allowing for supplies from Azerbaijan that arrive in Greek ports to flow to Italy and the wider Southeast European (SEE) region. The consortium operating TAP has transported 10 billion bcm of natural gas from Azerbaijan to Europe since its launch at the end of 2020.
IGB's commissioning will also enable the flow of more liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Bulgaria and SEE via Greece, paving the way for potential future LNG imports from the US, Algeria, Qatar, Egypt and other suppliers. The pipeline is seen as a crucial element of the European Union's plans to give up Russian gas supplies entirely by 2030 and beyond.
($ = 0.98365 euro)
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