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Greece-Bulgaria Gas Interconnector Certified for Commercial Operation

At a ceremony at the Energy and Water Regulatory Commission (EWRC) on Thursday, EWRC Chair Stanislav Todorov and the President of the Greek Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE) Athanasios Dagoumas presented ICGB Executive Directors Teodora Georgieva and Konstantinos Karayannakos with the Final Joint Certification Decision of ICGB, the project company for the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB), as the second independent transmission operator of natural gas in Bulgaria.
With the adopted decision, all regulatory requirements for putting the IGB into commercial operation after July 1, 2022 have been fulfilled, which is of strategic importance for the diversification and security of gas supplies for Bulgaria and Southeast Europe. The certification process follows a successful conciliation procedure with the European Commission. The decision of the national energy regulators of Bulgaria and Greece was adopted after a successful conciliation procedure with the European Commission. The whole process was completed in a short time, given the extremely important role of the interconnector.
The event was attended by Ilin Stanev from the Representation of the European Commission in Bulgaria, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Energy Radoslav Ribarski, the Deputy Executive Director of the Bulgarian Energy Holding Ina Lazarova, representatives of the ICGB and EWRC member Alexander Yordanov.”With this decision, the energy regulators of Greece and Bulgaria guarantee that the IGB will provide free access to commercial companies from different countries and they will be able to supply natural gas to Bulgaria. It is indicative that already large gas trading companies such as SHELL and Vitol are applying for a license in Bulgaria,” said Todorov. According to him, the ICGB certification opens the Bulgarian market for supplies from all over the world and any company following the rules will be able to reserve capacity. “There will be gas supplies because they are no longer dependent on just one source and one pipe,” he added. “With today’s step, we are uniting the natural gas markets and ending the energy isolation of the countries of Europe,” said Dagoumas.
According to Stanev, “the new gas connection is an important contribution to the energy security not only of Bulgaria, but also of all EU member states. The EC has supported the project from its very beginning, both providing financial assistance and promoting its implementation”.
Georgieva and Karayannakos: “The gas connection between Bulgaria and Greece is a project of great importance for both countries and for the entire region, given the complicated international situation. Given the situation in the region, we are already actively talking about the possibility of upgrading the capacity of the IGB to 5 billion cubic metres per year, which would open up many new export opportunities to the Western Balkans, Moldova and Ukraine.”
The IGB gas pipeline is designed to connect with the Greek national gas transmission system (DESFA S.A.) and the Trans-Adriatic gas pipeline (TAP AG) in the Komotini region (Greece), and with the Bulgarian gas transmission system (Bulgartransgaz EAD) in the Stara Zagora region. The total length of the interconnector is 182 km, with a pipe diametrе of 32 inches and a design capacity of up to 3 billion cubic metres per year in the direction of Greece-Bulgaria. Depending on the market interest in using a larger capacity and the possibilities of the neighboring gas transmission systems, the capacity of the gas pipeline is designed to increase to 5 billion cubic metres per year with additional construction of a compressor station. In a longer-term, the IGB interconnector will be able to transport natural gas from Israel and Cyprus, as well as additional volumes from Azerbaijan and other countries.
The IGB (Greece-Bulgaria Intersystem Gas Connection) project is implemented by the mixed investment company  ICGB AD, registered in Bulgaria in 2011 with shareholders Bulgarian Eenergy Holding EAD (50%) and IGI Poseidon (50%). The co-shareholder IGI Poseidon is a company registered in Greece, with shareholders the Greek company DEPA International Projects (50%) and the Italian energy group Edison S.p.A (50%).