During the meeting on 17-18 March, gas stakeholders under the South-East European Gas (SEEGAS) initiative proposed concrete measures to accelerate regional gas market integration and gas supply diversification, which is important not just for Ukraine but also for the South-East and East European countries vulnerable to energy disruptions from Russia.
In the context of ensuring energy security in the SEEGAS region, the committee welcomed the EBRD’s plans towards investing 2 billion euros for responding to crisis needs such as providing emergency support to Ukraine and its neighbouring countries, promoting energy diversification and interconnectivity in the short term perspective and boosting decarbonisation and energy efficiency in the long run.
Participants of the meeting also agreed with the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas (ENTSOG) that there is a need of establishing appropriate communication channels for the exchange of information on short notice between the relevant stakeholders.
In this regard, it was taken note of the Gas Transmission System Operator of Ukraine’s (GTSOU) request for utilising the Ukrainian gas transit system as much as possible to ensure and enhance Ukraine’s overall security. The GTSOU stressed the importance of improving Ukraine’s energy security by adding firm capacities with Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Poland to be available on a long-term basis and opening up the Trans-Balkan corridor by improving capacities between Turkey and Bulgaria and removing regulative barriers regarding gas export in Romania and virtual reverse flow in Moldova. Moreover, the GTSOU underlined the need to find the most suitable and prompt mechanism for financing the needed works for ensuring additional firm capacity, in particular from Poland and Slovakia.
That’s why the SEEGAS committee is calling on all the relevant parties to formalise Interconnection Agreements in a timely manner where relevant in order to stimulate and ensure the uninterrupted gas flows across borders in the SEEGAS region. For example, despite the capacity from Bulgaria to Romania fully covering current demand, there is a need for increased capacity for this route. On the other hand, Bulgartransgaz will propose projects for increasing the existing capacity from South to North on the Transbalkan route, as well as to Serbia and improving connectivity between the existing transmission network and UGS Chiren.
Another important project welcomed by the SEEGAS Members is the upcoming completion of the infrastructure development program in Poland and the decision of Polish gas transmission system operator GAZ-SYSTEM to offer firm capacity to Ukraine as an emergency measure.
Finally, SEEGAS also welcomed the progress made towards gas infrastructure development in Turkey and welcomed the proposal of the BOTAS to utilise the fifth LNG terminal coming on stream in the course of 2022 for the need of European countries.