22 Jan 2024 10:04

Ukraine follows Moldova into 'vertical gas corridor' project

MOSCOW. Jan 22 (Interfax) - Ukraine has joined the "vertical gas corridor" project, which includes Greece, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary, as well as Moldova, which signed a similar agreement on Friday.

The gas transport system operators of Ukraine, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Moldova signed a memorandum to cooperate on the creation of the South-North, or "vertical" corridor during a CESEC (Central and South Eastern Europe Energy Connectivity) ministerial meeting in Athens, Ukrainian media reported citing the country's Energy Ministry.

"After the accession of Moldova and Ukraine, the vertical corridor will follow the route of the Trans-Balkan pipeline from Ukraine to Greece in the reverse direction. The concept of the vertical corridor is not a traditional separate gas pipeline project, but a system connecting existing national gas networks and other gas infrastructure to ensure gas transit and increase energy security," Moldova's Energy Ministry said earlier.

The "vertical corridor" will create synergy between liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals in Greece, the Trans-Balkan Pipeline, Ukrainian underground gas storage facilities and consumers in Central Europe.

"This agreement, according to preliminary estimates, will enable the Gas Transmission System Operator of Ukraine (GTSOU) to additionally supply more than 7 billion cubic meters annually through Ukraine from Romania to Central European countries," Ukrainian Energy Minister Herman Galuschenko said in the press release.

"The Gas Transmission System Operator of Ukraine is already working with the operator of Moldova's gas transmission system and national regulators on creating attractive conditions for the use of additional Trans-Balkan corridor capacity in the amount of 6 million cubic meters per day in the course of 2024 already," GTSOU CEO Dmitry Lippa said.

Moldovan state company Energocom signed a gas purchase contract with Greek gas operator DEPA last April. Energocom "is the first and so far only company in the world with practical experience using the Greece-Bulgaria-Romania-Moldova-Ukraine 'vertical corridor,' and its "experience last season using the Greece-Bulgaria interconnector showed the feasibility of using the Trans-Balkan gas pipeline in reverse mode," Moldovan Energy Minister Viktor Parlikov said at the time.