N. Macedonia suspends potential investment in Bulgaria's Belene NPP, eyes Greek LNG project

N. Macedonia suspends potential investment in Bulgaria's Belene NPP, eyes Greek LNG project

North Macedonia has put on hold plans to invest in the project for the construction of a nuclear power plant (NPP) in Belene in Bulgaria, Vasko Kovachevski, general manager of North Macedonia's state-owned power utility ESM, said.

North Macedonia will instead focus on potential investment in the construction of a floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal being developed off the coastal city of Alexandroupolis in Greece, Kovachevski said at the Macedonian Energy Forum on Monday, according to a video file streamed on the event's YouTube channel.

North Macedonia is interested in taking a 25% stake in the LNG terminal project, Kovachevski said.

The LNG terminal in Alexandroupolis is being developed by Greek company Gastrade. It will comprise a floating unit for reception, storage and regasification of LNG, which will be a new, independent energy gateway for the markets of Southeastern and Central Europe. The facility is expected to become operational in early 2023.

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.

North Macedonia showed interest in acquiring a minority stake in the future project company for the construction of Belene NPP, Bulgaria's energy ministry said in August last year.

In June 2018, the Bulgarian parliament mandated energy minister Temenuzhka Petkova to seek potential strategic investors willing to build a nuclear power plant in Belene, on the Danube river - a project abandoned since 2012 which the government aims to revive.

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