A DESFA gas grid operator market test for a gas pipeline project to link the Greek and North Macedonian systems is set to begin following the launch, by the Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE), of a related public consultation procedure, ending February 7, the authority has announced.
The project’s market test will follow and is expected to be launched by March, the latest.
Towards the end of 2021, DESFA signed a 25 million-euro loan agreement with the European Investment Bank for the project’s Greek segment. This loan had been approved by the EIB more than a year earlier, in August, 2020.
At the time its approval was announced, EIB noted the project promises to further optimize Greece’s gas grid and also promote supply security and competition in the neighboring country through gas source and route diversification.
The project’s Greek segment, budgeted at 67 million euros, is planned to run from Nea Mesimvria, on the western outskirts of Thessaloniki, to the Evzoni area on the northern border.
Late in December, the EIB also approved a 28.9 million-euro loan agreement for the project’s North Macedonian segment. An agreement for this loan is expected to be signed within the next few weeks.
The EIB has also extended a 12.4 million-euro loan to North Macedonia from the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF) for technical support and development of the project.
The gas pipeline, whose overall cost is estimated at 110 million euros, is planned to cover a total of 123 kilometers.