Development of a high-pressure gas pipeline in west Macedonia, in the country’s north, which would enable the country’s gas grid to be extended to the area, is among the energy ministry’s proposals for EU recovery fund inclusion.
Though still too early to tell if this project will become eligible for financial support through this fund, it should be pointed out that the European Commission is generally hesitant about backing natural gas-related projects.
The project’s inclusion, or not, in a national recovery and resilience plan being prepared by a special energy-ministry committee, currently filtering proposals by this ministry and other ministries, stands as a crucial test that could determine whether the west Macedonia gas pipeline project will become eligible for EU recovery fund support.
A national plan’s finalized list is expected within the next few days before it is forwarded, by early April, to the European Commission, whose approval will be needed.
The energy ministry is also seeking 300 million euros through the recovery fund for the redevelopment of the power utility PPC’s mining areas in west Macedonia, a lignite-dependent economy.
Regardless of whether the west Macedonia high-pressure gas pipeline plan will qualify for EU recovery fund support, gas grid operator DESFA appears determined to move ahead with the project, budgeted at 110 million euros and constituting part of the country’s decarbonization strategy.
The new National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) could serve as an alternative financing source, while DESFA will also consider company cash reserves and a bank loan if necessary.