Greece and Bulgaria launch 180 km gas pipeline

The new Greece-Bulgaria Interconnector (IGB) pipeline, launched by the two countries, will make it possible to receive gas from the Azerbaijani Shah Deniz field and liquefied gas from various sources through Greek terminals.

The completion of the gas pipeline between the two countries will significantly reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian gas, reports Reuters.

The pipeline, stretching over 180 kilometers, runs between the northeastern Greek city of Komotini and the Bulgarian city of Staraya Zagora, connecting the gas transmission systems of Greece and Bulgaria. Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria is designed to provide these countries and their neighbors with access to new networks.

Previously, Bulgaria provided 90% of its gas needs with imports from Russia. After refusing to pay Russia in rubles, Gazprom suspended gas supplies to Bulgargaz, and Bulgaria began trial gas supplies from Azerbaijan.

Greece covered approximately 40% of annual needs with Russian gas. During the pandemic, the completion of the gas pipeline, scheduled for November 2020, was delayed due to delayed imports of materials.

The cost of the “energy bridge” amounted to 220 million euros. The capacity of the Greek-Bulgarian pipeline is estimated at 3 billion cubic meters with the possibility of increasing it to 5 billion cubic meters in the future. Commissioning is scheduled for early August. Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said that the state will be able to receive Azerbaijani gas in the next few weeks. Before this, the gas pipeline must pass a series of checks.

Reuters notes that the annual gas consumption in Greece in 2021 was about 7 billion cubic meters of gas, and Bulgaria – about 3 billion cubic meters.

The Greece-Bulgaria (IGB) gas pipeline will start operating by the end of July, Greek Environment and Energy Minister Kostas Skrekas said.
Speaking at the Economist conference on Wednesday, Minister Skrekas emphasized the role of Greece in improving energy security in the region and EU with the current LNG infrastructure as well as planned new installations, the East Med gas pipeline, power grid upgrades, an interconnector linking Greece with Bulgaria, Albania and Italy, and the construction of a gas pipeline that will link Greece with Egypt.

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