Bulgartransgaz wraps up acquisition of 20% interest in Greek LNG terminal project

Bulgartransgaz wraps up acquisition of 20% interest in Greek LNG terminal project

Bulgarian state-owned gas transmission system operator Bulgartransgaz has completed the acquisition of 20% interest in Gastrade - the company developing a floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal off Greece's northern coastal city of Alexandroupolis, the Greek company said on Monday. An agreement for the acquisition was signed between Bulgartransgaz and Gastrade on August 24, along with a new shareholder agreement signed by Gastrade's existing shareholders Elmina Kopelouzou, GasLog Cyprus Investments, DEPA Commercial, Gastrade itself as well as the new shareholder Bulgartransgaz, the LNG terminal developer said in an e-mailed press release. The acquisition agreement is subject to the approval of the competent authorities. The participation of Bulgartransgaz in the project is a proof of the strategic role of the project in Southeast Europe which will have a key role in the penetration of LNG in the region, as well as in enhancing energy liquidity in its markets, Gastrade noted. “The investment that Bulgartransgaz made today in the LNG project is of strategic importance for the development of the natural gas market in Bulgaria and the region. This will guarantee liquidity of the gas market and competitive prices for the customers. The LNG terminal in Alexandroupis complements the realisation of the concept of the Bulgarian government - Balkan Gas Hub,” Vladimir Malinov, the CEO of Bulgartransgaz, said in the press release. Last month, Bulgartransgaz said that it has received ten offers for loans totalling 542 million euro ($641.8 million) as part of a procedure to take out six-year loans in the total amount of 400 million euro. The company intends to use the funds to finance key projects. The LNG terminal in Alexandroupolis, which is expected to become operational in early 2023, is planned to comprise an LNG floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU), which will be a new, independent energy gateway for the markets of Southeastern and Central Europe. The station will have an LNG storage capacity of 170,000 cubic meters and a natural gas supply capacity that will exceed 5.5 billion cubic meters per year. The floating unit will be connected to Greece's national natural gas system via a 28 km long pipeline, through which the regasified LNG will be transmitted to the markets of Greece, Bulgaria and the wider region, from Romania, Serbia and North Macedonia to Hungary, Moldova and Ukraine, Gastrade added. In January, Bulgaria's government said that Bulgartransgaz will acquire the shareholding interest by financing 20% of the cost of construction of the LNG terminal. In addition, the state-owned gas transmission system operator will participate in the LNG terminal's market test by booking between 300 and 500 million cubic metres of natural gas per year for a period of 3 to 5 years. The gas will likely be delivered through the gas interconnector Greece-Bulgaria, which is currently under construction. Earlier this year, Bulgaria's energy minister Temenuzhka Petkova said that the country will achieve diversification of half of its gas consumption by the end of 2020. Bulgaria currently imports almost all of the natural gas it needs from Russia. As of January 1, 2020 Bulgaria started receiving Russian natural gas via Turkey, replacing the delivery route via Romania and Ukraine.

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