Bulgaria-Greece Gas Interconnector Project Goes as Scheduled

Bulgaria-Greece Gas Interconnector Project Goes as Scheduled

The project for construction of a gas interconnector between Bulgaria and Greece (IGB) goes more or less as scheduled and cooperation between the two countries in the implementation process is very good, according to the Greek Deputy Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Change, Ioannis Maniatis. He was speaking here Tuesday at a meeting with Bulgarian journalists, commenting a recent question by MEP Ivailo Kalfin to the European Commission regarding what he sees as a huge delay in the implementation of the IGB and other EU-funded project.

The project will use 45 million euro in EU funding which is part of a 5,000 million euro package for investments in energy and internet broadband infrastructure. Bulgarian Economy and Energy Minister Traicho Traikov said recently that the interconnector is at the stage of selecting a contractor for the environmental impact assessment (EIA) and construction design, and that a final investment decision will be made after the EIA is completed in 2012.

Maniatis believes that two or two-and-a-half years from now the project could be implemented.

A day earlier Deputy Foreign Minister Spiros Kuvelis described the project as "a success story" in bilateral cooperation.

Maniatis said that the interconnector, in combination with the Greece-Italy interconnector (IGI), is a major axis in the energy security of Southeastern Europe. What he sees as maturity of the two projects makes him optimistic about that there will be a decision on supplies for the two gas pipelines from Azerbaijan, unlike the situation with the Nabucco and the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline.

"We believe that the IBI and the IBG projects make the first stage of a project that is important for Europe, the South Corridor," said the Deputy Minister. "I believe that the two interconnectors, Greece-Italy and Greece-Bulgaria, are the first stage which can subsequently by followed by the implementation of Nabucco."

As per the projects, IBI and IGB can supply up to 17 billion cu m of gas annually while Nabucco is for over 30 billion cu m. IBI and IGB can be implemented now because financing is available and there is enough natural gas for them, while Nabucco needs bank financing and, more importantly, additional gas from Turkmenistan, Iraqi Kurdistan and more quantities from Azerbaijan, said Maniatis. He was adamant that Nabucco and IGB complement - rather than compete with - each other. (Source: BTA)

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