The Bulgaria-Greece gas pipeline has completed its connection to the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), allowing for supplies from Azerbaijan that arrive in Greek ports to flow to Italy and the wider Southeast European (SEE) region, project developer ICGB said on Friday.
The interconnector's gas metering station at Komotini in Greece was joined with nearby existing TAP infrastructure north of the pipeline's above-ground facility, ICGB said in a statement.
The pipeline will also be connected to the gas transmission infrastructure of the Bulgarian state-owned distributor Bulgartransgaz near the second gas metering station close to Stara Zagora.
Greek operator DESFA is expected to provide in the next few weeks a timeline for the physical tie-in with its transmission network.
Once the interconnector is commissioned, the link between TAP and IGB will initially allow the import of 1 billion cu m of natural gas per year, which is currently contracted by Bulgarian distributor Bulgargaz. The amount could be further increased to up to 3 billion cu m per year, the current overall capacity of the interconnector, thus allowing Bulgaria and the SEE region to begin diversifying away from Russian gas.
The interconnector could see its maximum capacity driven up to a total of 5 billion cu m per year, in the context of rising geopolitical instability due to the military conflict in Ukraine. The pipeline could also link to planned and existing LNG terminals in the region, ICGB added.
The interconnector is the only pipeline which directly connects Bulgaria’s natural gas market with the Southern Gas Corridor.
Earlier this week, Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said the interconnector could enter operation in September.
The consortium operating TAP has transported 10 billion cu m of natural gas from Azerbaijan to Europe since its launch at the end of 2020, it said earlier this month.