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Nov 23, 2017 18:02 EEST
November 23 (SeeNews) - Bulgarian state-owned gas transmission system operator Bulgartransgaz and Macedonian energy company MER Skopje signed an agreement on Thursday to conduct a feasibility study on the construction of a gas interconnector, the energy ministry in Sofia said.
"The development of the Greece-Bulgaria gas link and Turkey-Bulgaria pipeline, as well as the construction of the Balkan gas hub project, will be taken into consideration when exploring routes for construction of a new gas interconnection between Bulgaria and Macedonia," the ministry said in a statement following the signing ceremony in Strumica, Macedonia.
Last month, Bulgartransgaz said it is inviting bids in a 1.8 million euro ($2.11 million) tender for drafting a detailed feasibility study on the proposed Balkan gas hub project.
Currently, Bulgaria supplies Russian gas to Macedonia through the Dupnitsa-Skopje pipeline.
The agreement is a follow-up to a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed on August 1 by the two countries.
Bulgaria's Electricity System Operator (ESO) and its Macedonian peer MEPSO also signed an agreement on Thursday on launching joint auctions for the allocation of transmission capacities between the electricity operators of both countries.
Conducting joint auctions will lead to an increase of the volume of traded electricity in the region and the liquidity of the energy exchanges, the ministry said.
In December 2014, the Bulgarian government proposed to the European Commission to build an EU-funded regional gas hub near the Black Sea port of Varna to dispatch gas deliveries to the rest of Europe - to Greece, Romania, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia and, via those countries, to EU member states in central and western Europe, as well as to non-EU Serbia, Macedonia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Gas can be fed into the hub from Russia, from Bulgaria's potential gas deposits in the Black Sea or, via interconnectors with Greece and Turkey, from the Caspian region or the Eastern Mediterranean, or from the Greek and Turkish LNG terminals, the government said at the time. The gas hub could also be supplied via an interconnector with Romania, which is estimated to have significant deposits in the Black Sea shelf.
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