With the IBS gas pipeline, "Bulgartransgaz" strengthens its leadership as a reliable partner

Energy / Bulgaria
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Photos: Marinela Arabadzhieva

Only days after the start was given to increase the capacity of the gas storage in Chiren to 1 billion cubic meters from the current 500 million cubic meters, Bulgartransgaz took another step towards expanding the gas transmission network. The company started the construction activities on the project for "Bulgaria-Serbia intersystem gas connection on Bulgarian territory". The executor of the project is the company DZZD "International Gas" ("Glavbolgarstroy" AD and "Glavbolgarstroy International" AD).

The actual construction of the section of the gas pipeline (total length of 170 km) on Bulgarian territory is 62 km, will take eight months and will be ready in October of this year. The executive director of Bulgartransgaz, Vladimir Malinov, and Kalin Peshov, a member of the supervisory board of Glavbolgarstroy, expressed confidence that this will happen. The ceremony was attended by the presidents of Bulgaria and Serbia - Rumen Radev and Aleksandar Vucic, the chairman of the permanent delegation of the EU in Serbia, Emmanuel Joffre, and members of the governments of both countries.

The construction of the Bulgaria-Serbia interconnector is an important step for the entire region and gives us the opportunity to start building a vision for our common future. This was emphasized by the President of Bulgaria Rumen Radev. The project for the IBS gas pipeline, which is reversible in the words of the Bulgarian president, is proof of how the cooperation of the European Commission can lead to common benefits, diversification of blue fuel sources and provision of affordable energy. Radev pointed out that through the interconnector, our country will get access to European markets, and Serbia, thanks to our country's agreement with the Turkish company Botas, to the Turkish LNG terminals.

"Bulgaria has proven itself as a reliable transit country," the president pointed out, reminding that even during the period when he was left without supplies of Russian gas, he continued to fulfill his obligations and transport gas through the "Balkan Stream". “It's not just a physical relationship. From now on, we can consolidate our cooperation", Rumen Radev pointed out, emphasizing the possibility of searching for common suppliers of blue fuel. The gas connection in our region is not an ordinary thing. It also means security. "This is the path to a peaceful and prosperous environment in our region," the Bulgarian president also pointed out, not forgetting to express his gratitude to the European Commission for the support provided.

The importance of the interconnector was also emphasized by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, who emphasized the fact that it was the first time that Serbia received such a large amount of European funding. As is known, the Serbian side received a total of about 75 million euros in funding from Europe for the construction of this project.

"We are happy that for the first time we received more money from Europe: a grant of 49 million euros and another 25 million financed by the European Investment Bank. And then they say - 218 million to the Bulgarians! Blush, we can't even dream of getting that much for energy infrastructure. Maybe one day there will be something for us, the Serbs," said Vucic. He also expressed hope that by the end of the year, the blue fuel will not only go to Serbia and Bulgaria, but to all the countries of the region.

The section of Serbian territory Nis-Dimitrovgrad with a length of 109 kilometers is expected to cost around 90 million euros.

The executive director of Bulgartransgaz, Vladimir Malinov, drew attention to the importance and benefits of the reverse gas flow. He specified to journalists that through the gas connection with Serbia, our country "will gain access to the Central European markets, to the Austrian gas hub (Baumgarten b.r.), which is also among the most liquid". In addition, the several municipalities through which the gas pipeline passes will also be gasified. As is known, the capacity of the IBS gas pipeline is 1.8 billion cubic meters of gas per year.

As for the Serbian side, Malinov reminded that IBS gives Serbia the opportunity to get access to the LNG terminal in Alexandroupolis, in which the company has a stake and in which the Serbian side already has reserved capacity. In addition, thanks to the Bulgarian agreement with the Turkish side, Serbia will also be able to access the Turkish LNG terminals. The executive director of Bulgartransgaz also explained that the company has encountered difficulties in terms of deliveries, but already 5,500 pipes, which are of Indian manufacture, have been "delivered" to the site.

The pipeline will be ready in October. This was promised by the representative of the company "International Gas" and member of the supervisory board of "Glavbolgarstroy" Kalin Peshov.

"As a company with half a century of experience in infrastructure construction, we are aware of the company's role in the construction of this interconnector and the expansion of the gas storage facility in Chiren," he pointed out. Peshov committed that the company will fulfill the object, respecting the high quality characteristic of the company. Also with care for the 300 workers who will spend the next nine months of their lives at this site.

"The construction of the interconnector is the next step in the government's systemic approach to diversification," said Energy Minister Rosen Hristov. In his words, with the construction of the interconnector, in addition to accessibility, greater flexibility, competitiveness and lower prices will be ensured.

The sources of funding for the Bulgarian part of the gas pipeline, which is about 170 km long, come from three sources – 27 million euros are from free European funding, 49 million euros are provided through the guarantee agreement with ING Bank, which must be ratified by The National Assembly, and the rest of the funds are self-financed.

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 is 76,674,469 euros, and the amount of grant funding is 27,602,809 euros.

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