Three projects of Bulgaria's transmission gas operator, Bulgartransgaz, are included in the fifth list of projects of common interest to the European Union, the company said. The projects, as it turns out, are of key importance for the development of the gas transmission system as a whole.
The European Commission adopted and published the Fifth List of Projects of General Interest (FGI) on November 19, 2021. The list includes the following three projects of Bulgartransgaz EAD:
• FGI 6.20.2 Expansion of the Chiren underground gas storage
• FGI 6.8.3 Gas interconnection Bulgaria - Serbia (IBS)
• FGI 6.8.2 Rehabilitation, modernization and expansion of the Bulgarian transmission system
The projects fall into Cluster № 6.20. to increase storage capacity in South East Europe and Cluster № 6.8. for development and strengthening of the infrastructure to allow the development of the Balkan Gas Hub.
The inclusion of these three priority projects of Bulgartransgaz EAD in the fifth list proves the strategic role of the Bulgarian gas transmission system for ensuring security of supply and integration of the gas markets in the region. They will stimulate diversification of sources and competition between gas suppliers. The implementation of the projects will also contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by creating conditions for the replacement of currently used coal with natural gas.
The expansion of the Chiren UGS will increase the storage capacities from 550 million m3 to 1 billion m3 and for extraction and injection from 3.5 million m3 per day to 8-10 million m3 per day. This will stimulate the entry of new market participants and is of considerable interest to LNG traders, who will be able to take advantage of additional flexibility in supplying their customers. Bulgartransgaz EAD is applying for co-financing of the extension under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). The project is in synergy with the LNG terminal near Alexandroupolis, in which the company participates with 20% of the share capital of the project company.
The purpose of the IBS gas pipeline is to connect the gas transmission systems of Bulgartransgaz EAD and JP SRBIJAGAS, providing significant new transmission capacity between the two networks, and through existing connections - with other countries in the region. The design capacity of the gas pipeline is 1.8 billion m3 per year with the possibility of reverse transmission. So far, the project has been co-financed by CEF with 28.2m euros.
The project for rehabilitation, modernization and expansion of the Bulgarian transmission system is planned in three phases. The project activities lead to ensuring safe and reliable transmission of natural gas, improving the efficiency, reliability and flexibility of the transmission system and opportunities for transmission of additional quantities of natural gas through the country, coming through existing and planned interconnection FGInts. In 2022, the implementation of the second phase, co-financed with EUR 27.6 million by CEF, is expected to be completed. The first and second phases of the project include the modernization of a total of 4 compressor stations with the installation of 10 new low-emission gas turbine compressor units, construction of 20 km of new gas pipeline and rehabilitation and replacement of 81 km of existing gas pipelines. The third phase of the project envisages the construction of about 19 km of new gas pipeline and compressor station with a capacity of 20 MW. Its implementation will allow further increase of IBS capacity to 2.4 billion m3 per year.
The inclusion in the Fifth List of FGIs of all three priority projects proposed by Bulgartransgaz EAD confirms the adequacy and compliance of the company's investment program with the EU objectives and will provide an opportunity to receive financial support for their completion.