11 Jul 2022 09:24

Greece-Bulgaria gas interconnector goes into operation

BAKU. July 11 (Interfax) - The opening ceremony of the Greece-Bulgaria Interconnector (IGB), which will transport Azerbaijani natural gas to Bulgaria, was held in Komotini, Greece on Friday, Azerbaijan's Energy Ministry reported.

The ceremony was attended by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov and Azerbaijani Energy Minister Parviz Shahbazov.

Shahbazov said the IGB is the beginning of an important stage in the development of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) and an indicator of the diversification of the Southern Gas Corridor.

The inauguration of the IGB is a strategically important event in the diversification of the energy supply of Bulgaria and Southeast Europe and in ensuring consumers' access to affordable and clean energy, he said.

The IGB is also a harbinger of new projects regarding the expansion of the Southern Gas Corridor in the coming years, Shahbazov said.

Bulgargaz EAD signed a 25-year contract in September 2013 to buy 1 billion cubic meters of Azerbaijani gas per year from the Shah Deniz 2 project. The ground-breaking ceremony of the IGB was held in the Kirkovo, Bulgaria in May 2019.

Shahbazov also said at the ceremony that Azerbaijan exported 160 million cubic meters of gas to Bulgaria in the first half of 2022 and plans to export a total of 600 mcm by the end of the year. Gas exports to Bulgaria increased by 1.7 mcm per day to 2.6 mcm per day beginning on July 1, he said.

The IGB operator reported at the end of March 2022 that the interconnector had already been connected to the TAP. The IGB will initially supply Bulgaria with 1 bcm of gas per year and supplies are subsequently expected to increase to design capacity of 3 bcm per year.

Azerbaijan began exporting gas to Europe - Italy, Greece and Bulgaria - through the TAP on December 31, 2020, but due to the absence of an interconnector, exports to Bulgaria were only a fraction of the planned 1 bcm per year, amounting to just 250 mcm-300 mcm.

The TAP is the last component of the Southern Gas Corridor for transporting Azerbaijani gas to Europe.