Following an inspection, the EIB also disbursed the third financial tranche for the interconnector with Greece
The project company ICGB successfully passed the next independent audit for environmental compliance of all activities on the implementation of the IGB gas pipeline
The project company ICGB, which is responsible for the implementation of the Greece-Bulgaria gas interconnection, received the third tranche of financing from the European Investment Bank (EIB). The amount of EUR 30 million was disbursed in early December following an inspection by the EIB of the activities carried out for the implementation of the gas connection project with Greece.
The agreement with the EIB was signed at the end of 2019, securing the final financing of the IGB gas pipeline. The bank provides financing in the amount of EUR 110 million as a loan secured by a state guarantee from Bulgaria. The amount is allocated to the project company in four separate tranches, and before each of them the ICGB undergoes a thorough inspection of both the documentation and the field. The tranches are approved for payment only upon proof of quality performed activities and completed deliveries of equipment, in order to ensure full control and transparency in the use of the allocated funds.
The last tranche of 19.9 million euros is expected to be disbursed in the second quarter of 2022, and the amount will cover the cost of equipment supplies.
Earlier, after a detailed audit, the ICGB received approval for the second interim payment from the European Energy Recovery Program (EERP) grant. The European Commission has officially approved without remarks the second interim payment of EUR 16,503,254.24, and the funds have already been received.
A total of EUR 39 million in grants under the Operational Program "Innovation and Competitiveness" (OPIC) 2014-2020 have been awarded for the implementation of the project. The first tranche of OPIC in the amount of EUR 28.5 million was approved in the spring of 2021. ., and the second approved payment amounts to EUR 8.7 million.
Currently, the project company receives positive feedback on regular audits performed by the independent foreign company RSK Ltd. under EIB loan financing. The inspections are carried out every three months both in the construction phase and after the commissioning of the gas pipeline, and their main purpose is to verify that the IGB project is implemented in compliance with all environmental protection requirements in the regions along the route gas pipeline. ICGB's obligations to protect the environment and protected species in the route areas are among the main commitments the company has made to the EIB to be approved for loan financing. In the framework of independent audits, the documentation on the performed construction activities is checked and a site visit is made in order to monitor whether the implementation of all activities meets the set environmental and social norms. At the moment, all inspections have been passed successfully, without any serious violations or deviations from the norms. After the commissioning of the gas pipeline, two more similar audits are planned.