Vertical Corridor preliminary work progressing, new MoU to be signed

DESFA, Greece’s natural gas grid operator, is expected to sign a new Memorandum of Understanding within the next few days with its counterpart operators in Bulgaria (Bulgartransgaz), Hungary (FGSZ) and Romania, (Transgaz) as well as ICGB, the consortium established to develop the prospective IGB (Greek-Bulgarian Interconnector) pipeline project. The new MoU’s aim will be to explore the possibility of interconnections beyond Bulgaria, with Romania and Hungary, a stretch that would represent a big part of the Vertical Corridor.

Activities to be carried out by authoriities as part of this process will include an examination of which projects need to be developed, as well as the technical requirements of interconnections and  compressor stations.

The anticipated MoU will come as the next step following a Joint Statement signed by the four operators and ICGB last September in Budapest, on the sidelines of a Central and South Eastern European Gas Connectivity (CESEC) meeting chaired by the European Commission.

For that statement, the signees declared an intention to bolster their efforts, at technical and regulatory levels, for the development of the Vertical Corridor, expected to be comprised of a network of short pipelines to transmit natural gas from Greece all the way to Ukraine, and vice versa. This project promises to increase the diversification of supply sources in the intermediate countries – Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary.

The IGB will carry Azerbaijaini natural gas stemming from the Shah Deniz 2 field and is expected to be linked with the TAP project, currently under construction and planned to cross northern Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea, all the way to southern Italy.

Construction of the IGB project is expected to begin in 2018 and completed early in 2020.

Authorities are scheduled to meet again in Sofia on July 10 and 11.

Vertical Corridor partners set for new agreement to be signed in Athens

Bulgarian, Romanian and Hungarian gas grid operator representatives are soon expected to travel to Athens to sign a new agreement with their Greek counterpart for the Vertical Corridor, to run though the territories of all these countries.

Two months ago, the four gas grid operators along with ICGB, the consortium behind the prospective IGB (Greek-Bulgarian Interconnector) pipeline project, signed a joint declaration in Budapest to intensify efforts at technical and regulatory levels in order to further propel the Vertical Corridor’s prospects.

A Memorandum of Understanding was also signed by the gas grid operators of Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary as well as Ukraine. The representative operators – Greece’s DESFA, Bulgaria’s Bulgartransgaz, Romania’s Transgaz, Hungary’s FGSZ and Ukraine’s Uktransgaz – have now decided to take the next step and sign a MoU for the project’s construction.

Romania, whose existing gas network needs to be upgraded if it is to be incorporated into the Vertical Corridor, will use the MoU as support in its quest for related EU funds.

The Vertical Corridor will enable gas flow from the south to the north. Greece’s exisiting LNG terminal in Revythoussa, an islet just off Athens, could supply the Vertical Corridor. The Greek unit’s capacity will be boosted once revamp work there is completed. As a result, southeast European countries will be provided access to LNG.

The Vertical Corridor, to incorporate the IGB interconnector, will provide southeast Europe with access to Caspian gas that will be transmitted to the region through the TAP (Trans Adriatic Pipeline) project, now being developed.

Brussels, backing these projects, is keeping a close watch on developments.