ICGB Executive Directors Teodora Georgieva and Konstantinos Karayanakos met with the builders of the interconnector with Greece, source: ICGB.
The two executive directors of the ICGB project company, Teodora Georgieva and Konstantinos Karayanakos, checked on the spot the progress in the construction of the Greece-Bulgaria interconnector and met with representatives of the construction company responsible for the project implementation. During the meeting, the Greek company assured that all major activities are actively progressing and the linear part of the pipeline is expected to be completed on time - by the end of 2021.
More than 160 km of the gas connection with Greece have been found, and the fully finished sections reach 100 km, it became clear during the visit. The preparation of the trench continues in parallel with the implementation of a number of other activities such as non-destructive testing of each weld, laying of heat-shrinkable bellows and performing hydro tests. Preparations for the passage of the gas pipeline under the Maritsa River bed have already been completed and the site's teams are ready to start drilling in line with the time window for the activity set by the MoEW.
"It is especially important for us that the interconnector is implemented within the agreed time and we emphasized this during the meeting with the builder. The pipeline is of great importance for security of supply and diversification of natural gas sources not only for Bulgaria and Greece, but also for the whole region, and therefore we cannot make any compromises with the agreed deadlines, "said Georgieva and Karayanakos. They specified that the project company has provided serious compensation in the contract for the construction of the interconnector, which will be required by the contractor if the implementation of IGB does not happen within the set deadline. "All parties have an interest in the successful completion of the IGB within the agreed deadlines, but if these conditions are not met, the project company will not hesitate to activate the contractual compensation clauses. The interests of Greece and Bulgaria will be protected and we have the full support of the two national governments in this regard, "said the two executive directors.
As of the second half of June, the construction and installation works on the construction of a gas metering station near Stara Zagora and a dispatch center near Haskovo are progressing. The excavation works have been completed, the pouring of the foundations is almost completed, and the construction of the ground facilities has started according to plan. At the moment, a procedure for audit of the activities is carried out along the route of the interconnector in order to comply with all environmental and social measures. The procedure is performed by an independent consultant according to the strict standards of the European Investment Bank (EIB) and is part of the control mechanism under the loan agreement between the EIB and the Bulgarian shareholder of ICGB. During the active phase of construction of the interconnector, such audits are carried out once every three months to ensure that all activities on the route are carried out within the environmental and social commitments made by the project company.
The interconnector with Greece is an entirely new route for the transmission of natural gas to Europe and will give Bulgaria and the region access to supplies from new sources. The project will connect our country with the Southern Gas Corridor and has excellent synergy with major energy projects such as TAP, TANAP, EastMed and the LNG terminal at Alexandroupolis. The opening of the Bulgarian market to new traders will increase the competition, which is expected to allow the end users in our country to benefit from more optimal prices.
One of the strategic benefits of the interconnector at the regional level is the possibility of access to the gas transmission network for Bulgarian municipalities and regions that have not yet had the option of connectivity. ICGB has already established cooperation with the licensed for the region gas distribution companies and interested industrial customers from Kardzhali and Dimitrovgrad. In this regard, the project company has already designed and implemented the necessary technical facilities on the territory of the two cities, providing the necessary conditions for access to the gas transmission network. The company is ready to cooperate with all gas distribution companies and industrial customers who have an interest in providing access to the interconnector in accordance with European and Bulgarian legislation.