Serbia’s Minister of Mining and Energy Dubravka Đedović Handanović said on Thursday (2 November) that Serbia is “well prepared” for the current heating season, as additional gas reserves have been secured in storage facilities in Serbia and Hungary.
“Each new storage capacity means greater security of supply. We currently have close to 700 million m3 of gas in storage in Serbia and Hungary, which is a historical record and a larger stock of this energy than at the beginning of the last heating season. The construction of the Serbia-Bulgaria gas interconnection, which will enable Serbia to connect to the TAP and TANAP gas pipelines, is in the final phase and the works will be physically completed in mid-November, while work will be done in parallel to obtain the necessary permits,” said Minister Đedović Handanović.
With the completion of the gas interconnection with Bulgaria, Serbia will also gain the opportunity to be supplied with gas from Azerbaijan and the LNG terminal in Greece, in addition to Russian gas, said the minister.
“By the end of November, we expect to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between the ministries of energy of Serbia and Azerbaijan, as well as a commercial contract between the Azerbaijani supplier and JP ‘Srbijagas,’ and we expect the supply to start by the end of the year,” said the minister at this year’s Gas Forum of Southeastern Europe on Thursday.
“In the period until 2030, according to the projections, the total gas consumption is expected to grow from about three billion cubic meters in 2022 to about four billion cubic meters of gas, and we need an increase in the capacity for natural gas storage in Serbia, as well as the construction of additional interconnections with neighbours. This primarily refers to the gas pipelines to North Macedonia and Romania, which will provide the gas infrastructure necessary for the import and transit of gas of about 4.5 billion cubic meters,” the minister added.
The minister noted that Serbia plans to diversify its supply of crude oil by building an oil pipeline to Hungary that would enable the transport of up to four million tons of oil. “The drafting of technical documentation for this project has begun, and the investor will be Transnafta. At the same time, we are also working on increasing the storage capacity for oil and oil derivatives in order to have greater security of supply, in accordance with the level of reserves provided for by European regulations.”
Greater role of gas in the energy transition
Touching on the green transition, Minister Đedović Handanović said that gas is set to play a greater role as a transitional energy source in the decarbonisation process. “In planning the energy transition, we cooperate with a large number of partners, and one of the most important is the European Union, with whom we will discuss additional assistance in the process, both financial and other, in the future. We will continue to improve our regulatory framework and strive even more for integration and connection with the region.”
The minister also noted that the adoption of the renewables law amendment and the establishment of the independent Republic Commission for Energy Networks, responsible for overseeing electricity and natural gas transmission system operators, has enabled a successful reform of the gas sector.
“Thus, in a systemic way, we are laying the foundations for better management of our companies and the implementation of reforms in the energy sector, which have been delayed for a long time, but are much needed. We will also continue to develop our transportation and distribution system, in order to enable greater use of gas as an energy source that is more environmentally friendly than other fossil fuels,” the minister said.