The independent transmission system operator ICGB has announced a successful completion of the non-binding phase of the incremental capacity process launched in July to assess the market interest in increasing the IGB pipeline’s total technical capacity.
“The market interest for a few consecutive gas years is nearly two times higher than our initial expectations. While for now these indications are non-binding for the shippers, this is a great first step towards a potential expansion of the IGB pipeline’s capacity from 3 bcm/y to 5 bcm/y”, said ICGB Executive Officers George Satlas and Teodora Georgieva. The two discussed updates on the plans for the interconnector’s development with other TSOs in the region during an event dedicated to the Vertical Gas Corridor held in Thessaloniki, Greece.
“In less than a year of commercial operations, the interconnector Greece-Bulgaria became an essential part of Bulgaria’s path towards energy diversification, enhanced security of supply and energy independence. Over 82% of the total capacity for the upcoming gas year is already booked and we’re looking ahead towards plans for expansion, further strengthening Bulgaria and Greece’s roles on the region’s energy map”, Georgieva noted.
According to her, gas traders have expressed interest for up to 4 bcm/y additional capacity for the next few gas years in the interconnection points of IGB with the Greek national operator DESFA and the Bulgarian national operator Bulgartransgaz.
George Satlas highlighted IGB’s synergy with the LNG terminal in Alexandroupolis and the pipeline’s key role as part of the Southern Gas Corridor and the Vertical Gas Corridor. “With the changed security environment in the region and the change of gas flow from south to north, Bulgaria is becoming a gas transit country. Together with Greece and its growing efforts towards developing LNG projects, our two countries are showing an excellent cooperation model in the energy sector”, he noted.
IGB is the first route for diversified supplies of natural gas to Bulgaria, guaranteeing increased security of supply and diversity of sources. The gas pipeline enables the transportation of natural gas from new sources to other countries in the region as well, including Moldova and Ukraine.
The IGB (Greece-Bulgaria Gas Interconnector) project is being implemented by the joint venture company ICGB AD, registered in Bulgaria in 2011 with shareholders BEH EAD (50%) and IGI Poseidon (50%). The co-shareholder IGI Poseidon is a company registered in Greece, with shareholders the Greek company DEPA International Projects (50%) and the Italian energy group Edison S.p.A (50%).
In accordance with its charter, ICGB AD is the owner of the IGB gas pipeline, financing its implementation, distributing its transmission capacity and receiving revenues from the transmission of natural gas.
The IGB gas pipeline connects with the Greek national gas transmission system (DESFA S.A.) and the Trans-Adriatic gas pipeline (TAP AG) in the area of Komotini (Greece), and with the Bulgarian gas transmission system (Bulgartransgaz EAD) in the area of Stara Zagora. The total length of the gas pipeline is 182 km, the diameter of the pipe – 32” – and a design capacity of up to 3 billion m3/year in the direction Greece – Bulgaria. Depending on the market interest for larger capacity and the possibilities of the neighboring gas transmission systems, the capacity of IGB is designed with the option for increase up to 5 billion m3/year with additional construction of a compressor station.