27 Apr 2022 15:16

Bulgaria to receive Azerbaijani gas through Gas Interconnector Greece - Bulgaria in fall - PM

BAKU. April 27 (Interfax) - Bulgaria is counting on starting to receive Azerbaijani gas through Gas Interconnector Greece - Bulgaria (IGB) in September, Bulgarian Prime Minister Kirill Petkov said.

"IGB's entry into service will become an actuality at the end of June, and Azerbaijani gas will be running through it starting in September. This will mean lower prices and greater energy independence for our country," Petkov said following a visit to the Greek city of Komotini.

Gas prices were high in Bulgaria this winter because Azerbaijani gas could not be transported through IGB, Petkov was cited as saying by Bulgarian media outlets. "That happened because this project hadn't been completed, and someone voluntarily declined cheaper deliveries" of gas, he said.

IGB's operator said at the end of March 2022 that the pipeline had already been connected to the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), the principle element of the Southern Gas Corridor, which will in the future provide Bulgaria with access to gas from Azerbaijan for the first time. The launch of the interconnector will allow Bulgaria to receive Azerbaijani gas directly and turn down Russian gas.

As soon as IGB is put into operation, the interconnector will first guarantee Bulgaria 1 billion cubic meters of gas per year with a later increase to the design capacity of 3 bcm per year.

Supplies of Azerbaijani gas to Italy, Greece, and Bulgaria began on December 31, 2020 through TAP, but due to the lack of an interconnector, supplies of gas to Bulgaria were 75% lower than planned.

Azerbaijani gas currently enters Bulgaria at the Kula-Sidirokastro border checkpoint with Greece through an existing line with a capacity of 3.68 bcm of gas per year. This significantly restricts imports of Azerbaijani gas into Bulgaria and allows for supplies of only 250-300 million cubic meters per year.