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Bulgaria to receive Azerbaijani gas through IGB from 1 July

Bulgaria will be able to receive Azerbaijani gas from 1 July after the completion of the test gas flow via the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB) at the end of June, reports local media.

“We are trying to make a mix between liquefied natural gas (LNG) and Azerbaijani gas so that the average delivery price is better than Gazprom’s, to make sure that the Bulgarian economy is competitive and diversified,” said Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov.

After Russia decided to halt gas flows to Bulgaria, the government is mobilising significant resources to complete the Greece-Bulgaria interconnection, which is key to alternative natural gas supplies to the country and the region.

The 182km-long natural gas pipeline between Greece and Bulgaria will join the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) which started to deliver Azerbaijani gas to Europe in December 2020 for the first time. However, due to the absence of the interconnector, Bulgaria received less gas than planned, that is, 250-300 million cubic meters per year instead of one billion cubic meters per year.

Once the IGB is launched, this connection will initially supply Bulgaria with 1 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas per year, and in the next stage, this volume will increase to 3 bcm, which corresponds to the current capacity of the interconnector. The second phase of the project set out to increase the capacity of the pipeline to 5 bcm per year.

The connection will allow Bulgaria not only to buy Azerbaijani gas but also to transport it through Greek LNG terminals, which can eliminate Russia’s monopoly on the country’s gas market.

The IGB pipeline is on the European Commission’s list of projects of common interest (PCI) and has received 84 million euros in EU grants.

Bulgaria’s natural gas market consumes 3 bcm of gas per year. The country received more than 75 per cent of its imported natural gas from Russia. The cut-off from Russian gas came at a time of low preparedness as Bulgaria had very low levels of gas in storage and most of the plans for diversification were delayed or on hold prior to Gazprom’s decision.

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