The construction phase of the gas interconnector Greece-Bulgaria has been completed. The event was celebrated at the gas measuring station near the Greek city of Komotini, where the pipeline connects to the gas transmission network of Greece and to the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline.
“Today we mark together the completion of a key stage in the development of the energy system in the region taking a big step forward towards a stronger, more connected and independent Europe,” said ICGB Executive Officer Teodora Georgieva. “The end of the construction of IGB comes after a number of challenges and obstacles that we were able to overcome only thanks to the consistent efforts of the ICGB team, the company’s shareholders, the political will of the governments of Bulgaria and Greece and the unequivocal support of the European Commission.”
According to her, the upcoming commercial launch of the interconnector will guarantee secure supplies of natural gas from various sources not only for Bulgaria and Greece but also for the entire region of South-Eastern Europe.
“We have the opportunity to supply gas to the Western Balkans, to ensure supplies to Moldova and Ukraine,” she emphasised.
“The IGB is being developed from the very beginning with a number of other key projects such as TAP, TANAP and the Alexandroupolis LNG terminal in mind and this makes it an integral part of Europe’s overall energy strategy and priorities,” added ICGB Executive Officer from the Greek side Konstantinos Karayannakos. “We began working on this project in a completely different international environment, but today IGB is more necessary and important than ever. The Greece-Bulgaria Interconnector is a new route for secure, diversified supplies, and will reshape the energy map of the region.”
Azerbaijan’s Minister of Energy Parviz Shahbazov described the implementation of the IGB as the beginning of an important stage in the development of TAP, an indicator of the diversification of the Southern Gas Corridor. It was noted that the IGB is also a harbinger of new projects regarding the expansion of the Southern Gas Corridor in the coming years. He also emphasised the importance of cooperation between the countries for sustainable energy security.
Since the second half of June, the interconnector has been filled with test quantities of natural gas. The route and its above-ground infrastructure have already been successfully tested including with the transfer of natural gas in the direction of Stara Zagora – Komotini and since the beginning of July, the Komotini station has also been filled up with gas. The integration of the system for automated control and overall management of the gas pipeline (the so-called SCADA system) continues.
The last stage before commercial operation includes the implementation of administrative procedures under the jurisdiction of a number of Bulgarian and Greek institutions, the total duration of which should be significantly reduced in order for the pipeline to become operational as soon as possible.