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SARAJEVO (Bosnia and Herzegovina), July 18 (SeeNews) - The European Commission's directorate general for neighbourhood and enlargement negotiations (DG NEAR) has approved the preparation of a feasibility study on the South Gas Interconnector Bosnia - Croatia project, Bosnian gas supplier BH-Gas said on Thursday.
The project will help Bosnia diversify its gas supply sources and routes from its current dependence on Russian gas which it obtains via Serbia and Hungary, BH-Gas said in a statement, adding it hopes to see the new pipeline that will link Bosnia to the Croatian gas network built by 2023/2024.
In particular, DG NEAR has approved a decision to award to the Mott MacDonald consortium the preparation of the feasibility study and tender documents in line with the rules of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), BH-Gas said.
The preparation of the documentation, worth some 1.0 million euro ($1.12 million), is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2020.
In the meantime, BH-Gas will launch a procedure for securing an urban planning permit for the project, considering that its Croatian peer Plinacro already received such permit for the Croatian part of the pipeline in 2018.
BH-Gas will also actively work, supported by its owner, the government of Bosnia's Federation, with the EBRD on securing credit financing for the project.
The planned route of the interconnection runs from Zagvozd in southern Croatia to Posusje and Travnik in Bosnia, with a branch to Mostar.
DG NEAR is responsible for EU policy on enlargement and the EU's eastern and southern neighbours.