IGB shareholders reach agreement on pipeline, DEPA boss announces

The partners behind the prospective IGB pipeline project, to interconnect the Greek and Bulgarian gas networks, reached an agreement Tuesday on their respective commitments, Spyros Paleogiannis, CEO at DEPA, the Public Gas Corporation, noted during a speech yesterday at a conference staged by IENE, the Institute of Energy for South-East Europe.

The head official at DEPA, to develop the IGB project in association with Bulgaria’s BEH and Italy’s Edison, noted this week’s agreement will be endorsed by the consortium’s board tomorrow, ahead of a finalized investment plan to be set by the end of this month.

An announcement on the project by its partners had been postponed twice this year for a variety of reasons, including Greece’s two national election battles.

The IGB pipeline, measuring 170 kilometers in length and budgeted at approximately 250 million euros, will interconnect the Greek and Bulgarian gas networks from Komotini, northeast Greece, and Stara Zagora, in Bulgaria’s south. Its initial capacity will measure 3 billion cubic meters per year, with potential for an increase to 5 billion euros.

The project is being backed by the EU, to provide 40 million euros in financial support for the pipeline, which will further contribute to Europe’s energy integration, as well as the US, believed to be planning for LNG supply to southeast Europe through terminals in Greece and Croatia.

The IGB project has been granted environmental permits by both Greek and Bulgarian authorities, but has yet to receive an EU license to operate as an Independent System Operator (ISO).

An initial market test conducted a few months ago showed limited commercial interest in terms of capacity reservation, which was limited to one billion cubic meters per year, a third of the prospective pipeline’s total initial capacity. A month ago, investors announced that a second test will be conducted.