After a 10-year delay, the construction of the reversible gas connection Bulgaria-Serbia begins. The pipes for the interconnector have arrived at the port in Burgas, and their unloading has already begun, BNT reported. The unloading work is expected to be completed within days, with the pipes initially being stored at bases along the route.
Bulgartransgaz signed the contract with the contractor in May 2022, but the war in Ukraine made it difficult to deliver the pipes. "The complex geopolitical situation made the implementation of the project, specifically its logistics, very difficult and risky, but not impossible," Haralampi Parashkevov, chief expert at the contractor company, told BNT. "Considering the importance of the project, we are highly motivated to execute it according to the highest standards. The pipes come from India and are manufactured by a company with an impeccable international reputation and experience," said Parashkevov.
"Difficulties in logistics arise from the fact that the prices for sea transport change in an upward direction in hours, and ship owners are not eager to have their ships enter the Black Sea," he noted.
The interconnector will connect the national gas transmission networks of the two countries. The new gas pipeline will have a total length of about 170 km - from the city of Novi Iskar to Nis, of which about 62 km is on Bulgarian territory. It will start from an existing site for a treatment facility (generally speaking - a facility with two chambers for inspecting the pipe - b.b.) "Novi Iskar" from the national gas pipeline.
The linear part of the gas pipeline has a diameter of DN 700; the construction of two automatic gas regulating stations (AGRS), one gas measuring station (GIS) - Kalotina, as well as two gas pipeline deviations for Slivnitsa and Dragoman is planned. After its construction, the gas connection will have a capacity of 1.8 billion m3/year with the possibility of reverse flow.
"Bulgartransgaz" signed the agreement for the construction of the Bulgarian-Serbian gas connection on May 5, and at a press conference the same day, then Minister of Energy Alexander Nikolov noted that the moment of signing was not chosen by chance - the event was within the framework of the international ministerial round table in Sofia, dedicated to regional cooperation for energy security, diversification and green transition.
The contract for the construction of the interconnector was signed with the Company under the Law of Obligations and Contracts (DZZD) "International Gas", which unites "Glavbolgarstroy" and "Glavbolgarstroy International".
The total value of the contract with DZZD "International Gas" is up to BGN 139,777,777.77 excluding VAT. The activities of the subject of the agreement are within the scope of the concluded grant agreement for grant financial assistance from the Connecting Europe Facility, Bulgartransgaz noted, it was reported at the time.
The total value of the project indicated on the "Bulgartransgaz" page is 76,674,469 euros, and the amount of grant funding is 27,602,809 euros.
The implementation of the Bulgaria-Serbia interconnector is a key project, a priority of the Bulgarian energy policy, aimed at guaranteeing the country's energy security, the diversification of sources and delivery routes, deepening the process of liberalization of the energy market, our national operator points out.
The gas link will provide Serbia and other countries in the region with access to various sources of gas through the Southern Gas Corridor and the LNG terminal near Alexandroupolis. A connection (delivery) will also be possible from Turkey, after "Bulgartransgaz" is about to conclude an agreement with the operator of the gas transmission network of our southeastern neighbor ("Botas") for capacity reservation and transmission, as the government press office recently announced.
Expectations are that the gas connection on the Bulgarian side will be completed by October 2023. The director of "Serbiagaz" Dusan Bayatovic said in his turn on Thursday, January 12, that the Serbian part of the interconnector will be completed by the beginning of the next heating season.
At the moment, about 50 percent of the pipes have been purchased, and about 90 percent of the route has been cleared. About 25 percent of the pipes have been welded and laying should begin. The expropriation has been completed successfully, Bayatovic told the Serbian national TV RTS quoted by BTA.
According to him, there will be no problem with the completion of the Serbian route from Nis to Dimitrovgrad. Bayatovich also said that, according to him, the Bulgarian side will make the first welding by February 1. He expressed his expectation that the interconnector would enable diversification. According to Bayatovic, the Bulgarian section is easier (apart from being shorter) than the one in Serbia, adds Tanjug.