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Bulgaria–Serbia gas interconnector to be completed by October 2023

The gas interconnector Bulgaria–Serbia should be completed by October 2023 at the latest, helping to expand Bulgaria’s access opportunities to the European gas market. These are the words of Energy Minister Alexander Nikolov during the inauguration ceremony for the start of construction of the Serbian section of the interconnector.

“The interconnector will enable Serbia and other countries from the region to access various sources of gas through the Southern Gas Corridor and the LNG terminal near Alexandroupolis,” he added.

Minister Nikolov highlighted the benefits for consumers from changing the gas map with the construction of interconnectors, such as the one with Serbia that will provide the region with alternative sources of natural gas, which facilitates negotiations with potential partners. In his opinion, price reductions and security of supply are among the most important positive effects of interconnectivity in the region over a long period of time,

Also Serbia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Mining and Energy, Zorana Mihajlovic, agreed that the construction of the main gas pipeline Nis-Dimitrovgrad will provide the possibility of gas supply from other sources, which will improve security and independence in the gas sector.

“Two years ago, we had only one supply route, from Ukraine,” she said. “Now we have the Balkan Stream and the Serbia-Bulgaria interconnection is underway. The works have started and the gas pipeline should be operational in 2023, which gives us the opportunity to get gas from other sources as well. This provides us with stability and the possibility of diversifying suppliers because we will be able to get gas from Greece, Azerbaijan, and in the future from Israel and Cyprus. The essence is that we have several directions and sources because a lot of things today depend on politics, not only on energy.”

Minister Nikolov also stressed the role of natural gas in reducing carbon emissions in Southeast Europe, bearing in mind the challenges associated with the high share of coal in the energy mix of the countries of the region.

“The current situation regarding the high volatility of energy prices requires targeted and effective measures where active cooperation and further integration of energy markets in the region will allow us to respond to the challenges,” he concluded. “In this sense, the interconnector Bulgaria-Serbia project is an example of how sustainable cooperation between our two countries and the European Commission can deliver mutual benefits for both countries and the whole region as well.”

The pipeline is planned to be approximately 170 kilometres long, from New Iskar, Bulgaria, to the town of Nis, Serbia. The planned capacity of the pipeline is 5.5 million cubic metres per day (1.8 billion cubic metres per year) with the possibility of reverse flow. This capacity is estimated to be increased up to 2.4 billion cubic metres per year in the framework of the implementation of the third phase of the EU Project of Common Interest Rehabilitation, modernisation and expansion of the Bulgarian transmission system.

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