The gas interconnector link between Bulgaria and neighbouring Romania will be fully functional in the second half of next year, according to Romania's deputy economy minister Rodin Traicu.
The gas link will be incorporated in the Nabucco gas pipeline project and would play a crucial role in securing the energy safety of the two Balkan countries, the Sofia News Agency (Novinite.com) quoted Traicu as saying on Wednesday.
He also stated that the two parties have agreed to speed up the interconnector's construction.
The construction of the gas pipeline was officially launched in August and will link the towns of Ruse in Bulgaria and Giurgiu in Romania across the Danube river. It is being developed jointly by Bulgartransgaz and its Romanian peer Transgaz. The reverse flow gas pipeline will be 25 kilometres (km) long - with a 15.4 km section on Bulgarian territory and 2.1 km underwater - and will have a maximum annual capacity of 1.5 billion cubic metres.
Of the total project costs, 8.9 million euro ($11.56 million) are covered by a grant from the European Energy Programme for Recovery. The Bulgarian section of the gas link is worth 7.1 million euro. The European Energy Programme for Recovery has provided a 4.4 million euro grant and Bulgartransgaz has come up with 2.7 million euro in co-funding.