The construction of the gas interconnection is subject to systematic control by national and foreign institutions and independent auditors, which guarantees quality implementation of all activities and processes.
All activities and processes for the construction of the interconnector with Greece are performed qualitatively and legally and meet the highest standards in the industry. This was established by a number of inspections at regional and national level related to the implementation of the construction of the Greece-Bulgaria gas interconnection. The management of the project is carried out successfully and so far no inspection has resulted in the imposition of a sanction. This was announced today by the design company ICGB, which is responsible for the construction of the facility.
"For us, both the quality of execution and the safety of the field teams involved in the construction of the IGB gas pipeline are extremely important. We are actively working in the direction of environmental protection in the areas along the interconnector. We believe that what has been achieved so far meets all international standards and requirements and we are making the necessary efforts to keep the pace of the project stable and to complete it within the agreed time, "said the executive directors of the ICGB project company Teodora Georgieva and Konstantinos Karayanakos. They explained that the quality control by the project company is continuous and the efforts of the ICGB team help to achieve excellent results of all inspections passed so far.
In the period from the beginning of the year to 20.08.2021, 8 inspections were carried out by the local and municipal structures in the areas through which the gas pipeline passes. These are mainly the regional directorates for national construction control (RDNCC) in the districts of Kardzhali, Stara Zagora and Haskovo, as well as the regional governor of Stara Zagora. The subject of the inspectors are a number of documents related to permits and construction contracts, contracts with companies for construction and author's supervision, safety conditions. In the conclusions of each of the already completed inspections it was established that no violations were found and no prescriptions were issued.
At the beginning of August an inspection was carried out at the initiative of the Ministry of Energy, the subject of which are the technical aspects of the project for construction of a gas-Bulgaria gas interconnection - quality of welding works, corrosion of the delivered pipes, implementation of the optical communication connection along the route of the gas pipeline.
The working group, which includes representatives of the Energy Ministry and lecturers from the University of Mining and Geology and Technical University in Sofia, aims to verify and analyze the submitted documentation related to the construction contract, terms of reference and technical design, as well as to check on-site construction and installation works in the vicinity of Haskovo. During the inspection, the construction permits, transport procedures, geodesy, pipe laying, execution of the optical line, electrochemical corrosion protection, implementation of the welding and control procedures, the quality of the performed welding joints, etc. were examined in detail. The conclusion of the inspection is categorical that the documentation is well developed according to the respective requirements and allows successful execution of construction and installation works on the gas pipeline between Stara Zagora and Komotini.
Simultaneously with the regular inspections at local and national level, the activity of the project company and the progress in the construction of the interconnector are subject to constant audits by independent companies and international institutions related to the increased requirements of the European Investment Bank (EIB) financing agreement. The ICGB has already successfully completed the third of six planned environmental audits carried out by an independent international consultant. After in-depth inspections by the EIB of the already implemented field activities, the project company finalized the utilization of the first two tranches of the loan financing.
The implementation of the interconnector with Greece is progressing on schedule and the builder envisages its completion within the contractually agreed deadlines by the end of 2021. The implementation of the IGB gas pipeline plays a key role not only in Bulgaria's energy diversification, but will allow direct access to a number of Bulgarian municipalities to the gas transmission network. Preparations for this process are already underway in the regions of Kardzhali and Dimitrovgrad, where ICGB is cooperating with the region's licensed gas distribution companies and interested industrial customers.
The IGB project is of key importance for the diversification of energy supplies in Bulgaria and the Balkans. However, a number of politicians and experts are of the opinion that the delay of the project in the past years has led to problems with the high prices of blue fuel in our country. In fact, even now, quantities of Azeri gas are reaching our country and we have real diversification since the beginning of the year. The deliveries are made through the reversible gas pipeline between Kulata and Sidirokastro, and there are separate virtual deals for natural gas supply. Experts recall that in reality natural gas prices are determined on the basis of levels in international markets, and they have risen significantly in recent months. This is the reason for the rise in natural gas prices in Bulgaria this summer as well.