Gas grid operator DESFA expects ongoing negotiations with North Macedonia’s energy sources company MER, for a cooperation agreement concerning the construction of a natural gas pipeline linking the two countries, will be successfully completed in July, enabling the staging of a market test for the project, whose Greek segment will run north from Thessaloniki’s Nea Mesimvria area.
DESFA plans to stage a market test for the pipeline in early autumn, assuming its cooperation agreement with MER is signed in July.
The cooperation agreement will commit both sides to the project’s construction, serving as a road map for its development and also specifying responsibilities to be taken on by DESFA and MER.
RAE, Greece’s Regulatory Authority for Energy, has set conditions, demanding a market test, and its successful outcome, in order to give the green light for construction of the Greek segment.
Apart from the cooperation agreement to be signed between DESFA and MER, the governments of Greece and North Macedonia plan to sign a corresponding bilateral agreement concerning the interconnection of the two countries through the project.
The details of this bilateral agreement are just about ready and have already been submitted to the European Commission for approval, Greek energy minister Kostas Skrekas told a recent conference.
Brussels’ approval is needed for North Macedonia to qualify for Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF) support funds for its segment of the gas pipeline.
The Greek segment, budgeted at 51.4 million euros, will cover a 57-km distance.