With all participating sides agreeing on the terms, a final agreement for the construction of the IGB (Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria) natural gas pipeline is now imminent.
ICGB EAD, the consortium formed to develop and operate the project, is expected to soon hold a general assembly to reach a final decision and proceed with related matters, including a share capital increase.
The ICGB EAD consortium is comprised of Poseidon, a joint venture between DEPA, Greece’s Public Gas Corporation, and Italy’s Edison, and Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH).
Although the prospective IGB project has gained impetus in recent times, a final agreement is considered pivotal as it would set the pipeline’s development on track with little chance of a retreat, energypress sources noted.
Panayiotis Lafazanis and his Bulgarian counterpart, Temenuzhka Petkova, recently met in Sofia, finalizing a revised schedule for the project’s development. Its operational launch has now been set for 2018.
The IGB pipeline is planned to cover a total distance of 180 kilometers, of which 30 kilometers will run across Greek territory, from Komotoni, in the country’s northeast, to the Greek-Bulgarian border, while the other 150 kilometers will stretch to Stara Zagora in Bulgaria.
The pipeline will initially have a capacity to transmit three billion cubic meters of natural gas annually, which may be increased to five billion cubic meters in the future.
The IGB pipeline will represent a key part of the Vertical Gas Corridor (VGC), to interconnect Greece, Bulgaria and Romania. The prospect of interconnecting the three countries is being strongly supported by the European Union, which plans to contribute 45 million euros for the project’s development. The participating countries intend to apply for additional EU funding.
Plans entail linking the IGB project with the TAP (Trans Adriatic Pipeline) project, to supply Europe with Azeri natural gas.
Greece is also supporting Turkish Stream, Russia’s latest proposal for natural gas supply to Europe, via the south, from the Greek-Turkish border region, as part of a multi-dimensional energy policy for the country being proclaimed by the recently elected Greek government.
Lafazanis, the energy minister, has noted Turkish Stream and its Greek segment, dubbed Greek Stream, will not rival the Vertical Gas Corridor, as the two routes will supply different markets.