Gas deal in north ‘geopolitically big, beneficial for consumers’

DESFA, Greece’s natural gas grid operator, and Bulgarian counterpart Bulgartransgaz signed an interconnection agreement today at a ceremony in the Greek northeast border area of Sidirokastro, establishing prospects for liberalized gas trade.

Negotiations leading to today’s agreement began back in 2013 and were successfully completed with backing from the regulatory authorities for energy of both nations as well as the European Commission’s energy authorities, DESFA noted in a statement.

The agreement will lead to the creation of a technical and commercial natural gas hub at the Sidirokastro interconnection for the Greek and Bulgarian systems, enabling bilateral trade and supply security for the entire southeast European region, with Greece playing a prominent role.

DESFA’s managing director Konstantinos Xifaras noted that, besides the major geopolitical importance for Greece and Bulgaria, the interconnection agreement will also offer benefits for consumers as a result of increased competition between suppliers, including new players.

The agreement will now permit other gas companies beyond DEPA, the Public Gas Corporation, and Russia’s Gazprom to trade in the area.