February 1, 2023
February 1, 2023
Bulgaria started the construction today of its segment of the gas interconnection with Serbia. It is envisaged as an alternative to the Balkan Stream, part of the TurStream network, which brings only Russian fossil gas.
Top officials marked the start of works on a pipeline in Bulgaria that is envisaged to deliver natural gas to neighboring Serbia. The Niš-Dimitrovgrad-Sofia route is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year. It is supposed to enable Serbia to get the fuel from liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals in Turkey and Greece, but also through pipelines from Azerbaijan and other countries.
The existing Balkan Stream pipeline, part of the TurkStream network, is used only for Russian gas supply. Serbia and Bulgaria are installing a 170-kilometer alternative route that is meant to carry 1.8 billion cubic meters per year. The construction of Serbia’s 109-kilometer section started a year ago.
The ceremony in Kostinbrod near the border was attended by President of Bulgaria Rumen Radev and his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vučić. Energy ministers Rosen Hristov and Dubravka Đedović were also present together with chief executives of state-owned utilities Bulgartransgas and Srbijagas Vladimir Malinov and Dušan Bajatović.
Radev: Bulgaria proved to be a reliable transit country
Radev said Bulgaria has proved that it is a reliable transit country and pointed out that it maintained the gas flow to Serbia at the most difficult moment, when it was itself left without Russian gas. The pipeline under construction is a deposit for the region’s future and for the pan-European future, he stressed.
Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vučić expressed hope that the construction of another gas interconnection would be finished by October and that his country would receive the first volumes of gas by the end of the year. The project will enable Serbia to diversify supply and import more gas, he underscored.
Vučić: Talks with Azerbaijan aren’t easy and Serbia also needs to negotiate with Russia
It’s in Serbia’s interest to reach a deal on gas supply with Azerbaijan as soon as possible, but it won’t be easy, according to Vučić. He explained the negotiations are aimed at reaching a deal on the price and that the other side wants contracts for ten years and more. Serbia also needs to talk to Russia and take the geopolitical situations into account, the president asserted.
Bulgarian Acting Minister of Energy Rosen Hristov said his country accepts its responsibility for maintaining security in the region. He added that the new pipeline enables Bulgaria and the region to get lower gas prices.
The Serbian part of the pipeline is worth EUR 85.5 million, of which EUR 25 million was covered with a loan from the European Investment Bank, EUR 49.6 million is the European Union’s grant and the remainder was covered by the Government of Serbia and Srbijagas.
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