January 28 (SeeNews) - Bulgaria, which currently imports almost all of the natural gas it needs from Russia, will achieve diversification of half of its gas consumption by the end of 2020, energy minister Temenuzhka Petkova said on Tuesday.
Bulgaria, which consumes some 3 billion cubic metres of natural gas per year, intends to receive half of that volume from Azerbaijan via the Greece-Bulgaria gas link, currently under construction, and through deliveries of liquified natural gas (LNG) from a coastal terminal in Greece, Petkova was quoted as saying in a press release following her meetings with US government officials in Washington, D.C.
The construction of the Greece-Bulgaria gas interconnection is expected to be completed in October, the energy ministry said last week, adding that Bulgaria will receive 1 billion cu m of natural gas per year from Azerbaijani via the new link.
The diversification is an important step towards a transparent, liquid and reliable natural gas market not only in Bulgaria but in the region as well, Petkova noted.
In June, Bulgaria took delivery of the first LNG shipments from the US via an existing LNG terminal in Greece. In 2019, the LNG deliveries to Bulgaria amounted to about half a billion cubic metres, the energy ministry said.
On Monday, ICGB, the project company developing the gas interconnection between Greece and Bulgaria, said that Greece's Corinth Pipeworks has completed the production of the first 47 km of line pipes for the gas link, adding the project is progressing according to plan.
The pipeline, which has a total estimated cost of 220 million euro ($242.3 million), will connect the Greek gas transmission system in the area of Komotini to the Bulgarian gas transmission system in the area of Stara Zagora. The planned length of the pipeline is 182 km and the projected capacity will be up to 3 billion cu m per year in the direction from Greece to Bulgaria.
Earlier this month, Bulgaria's government said that it has issued approval to state-owned gas transmission system operator Bulgartransgaz to acquire 20% interest in Gastrade - the company developing a floating LNG terminal off Greece's northern coastal city of Alexandroupolis. The participation in the LNG terminal project is in line with Bulgaria's long-term energy strategy for diversification of gas supply sources and routes, and will support the development of the country's Balkan Gas Hub project.
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