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Serbia-Bulgaria gas interconnection put into operation

Serbia’s Mining and Energy Ministry announced on Sunday (10 December) that a 109-kilometre gas pipeline connecting Serbia and Bulgaria has officially been put into operation.

The pipeline‘s three-year long construction was co-financed by Serbia’s state budget (22.5 million euros), the European Union (49 million euros) and a loan European Investment Bank of 25 million euros.

“This is a great day for the relations between Serbia, Bulgaria and Azerbaijan and an important international project for supplying Serbia and Central-Eastern Europe with gas from Azerbaijan and other sources, including the LNG terminal in Alexandroupolis, Greece. Although this project has been planned for many years, we managed to finish all the works in just one year, and to quickly agree all the details of the gas deliveries with our friends from Azerbaijan,” said Dubravka Đedović Handanović, Serbia’s Mining and Energy Minister.

The pipeline was commissioned in the presence of President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, Presidents of Bulgaria and Azerbaijan, Rumen Radev and Ilham Aliyev, and Head of the Delegation of the EU to Serbia, Emanuel Giofre.

“In the future, we will be able to have additional quantities of gas from this country, through the territory of Bulgaria. The countries that have proven to be the most resilient in the energy crisis and that have gone through the crisis much better are precisely those that have different sources of supply. We ensure this with this gas pipeline, which ensures additional sources and routes of supply, in addition to the Balkan Stream gas pipeline, which was completed in the midst of the pandemic,” added Minister Đedović Handanović.

In November, Serbia signed an agreement with Bulgartransgaz for the supply of up to 400 million cubic metres of gas from Azerbaijan by the end of 2024. “From Azerbaijan, we can receive up to 400 million cubic meters of gas annually until 2026, while from 2027, those quantities can increase up to three times,” said Minister Đedović Handanović.

“Today’s ceremony is a ceremony of friendship and partnership. I want to congratulate the Presidents of Serbia and Bulgaria. The gas pipeline will contribute to the energy security of Serbia and Bulgaria, as well as Europe,” said Ilham Aliyev, Azerbaijan’s President.

“Serbia is following an independent policy, a policy that serves the interests of the Serbian people and us as friends. We are thrilled with his achievements and support our bilateral agenda with concrete actions on the ground. I am confident that the commissioning of the interconnector will contribute to the industrial development of Serbia because I know that the President of Serbia has huge plans when it comes to the industrial development of your country,” said President Aliyev.

President Aliyev added that by 2027, Azerbaijan will double gas exports to Europe. “We have reached exports of more than eight billion cubic meters, and this year it will be more than 12 billion,” he said.

Bulgaria’s President Rumen Radev said that the commissioning of the gas interconnector changes the energy map of Europe. “Because the interconnector represents a guarantee for diversification and security of supply not only for our two countries but for the entire region, and it is not by chance that the European Commission has recognized it as a project of mutual interest,” said President Radev.

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