Construction works of the Nis-Dimitrovgrad pipeline linking Serbia’s gas distribution system to Bulgaria can start in September, announced Serbia’s Energy Minister Zorana Mihajlovic. Serbia hopes the pipeline can become operational in 2023 as it looks to diversify its gas import sources.
The 170 kilometres-long Bulgaria-Serbia interconnector will run from the Bulgarian capital of Sofia via Dimitrovgrad in Serbia to Nis with a capacity of 1.8 billion cubic metres (bcm) per year in the direction Bulgaria-Serbia and the possibility of reverse flow. This projected capacity will meet around 80 per cent of Serbia’s current gas needs.
The Minister of Energy pointed out that the diversification of gas routes is equally important as the diversification of energy suppliers.
“This gives us another direction of supply, but it is also important to work on the diversification of suppliers because we do not know what the situation will be on the global gas market,” highlighted the Minister.
Once the pipeline becomes operational it will provide a new supply route from Bulgaria to Serbia, as well as to other parts of the South-East European region, enabling access to liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Greece, Azeri gas from the Southern Gas Corridor, gas from Black Sea offshore production and possibly from the Eastern Mediterranean gas pipeline, with gas from the Leviathan field.
Serbia expects that the construction of the pipeline will increase energy security and strengthen energy networks in Southeastern Europe.
The interconnector between Serbia and Bulgaria forms part of the EU’s Projects of Common Interest (PCI) and is being treated as a priority for the Central and South-Eastern Europe Energy Connectivity High-Level Group (CESEC). The total investment cost of the pipeline will amount to 85.5 million euros, to be provided from the pre-accession funds of the European Union and a loan from the European Investment Bank.
Serbia expects to complete the construction of the gas interconnection by the beginning of 2023.