The Serbia-Bulgaria gas interconnector, 170 kilometers long, was officially put into trial operation today by President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, President of Bulgaria Rumen Radev, Head of the European Union’s Delegation Emanuele Giaufret and President of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić. The pipeline, with a capacity of 1.8 billion cubic meters per year, secured an alternative supply route for Serbia.
The gas pipeline connects Novi Iskar near Sofia and Niš, via Dimitrovgrad. The length in Serbia is 109 kilometers, and the commissioning took place at the Trupale gas station not far from Niš.
Serbia is currently supplied with gas from Russia, via the Balkan Stream gas pipeline, which receives the fuel via the Black Sea, Turkey and Bulgaria. Russian gas can also come through Ukraine and Hungary. In addition, Serbia can source gas from European markets via the same pipeline through Hungary.
The new gas pipeline opens up the possibility of importing LNG
The new interconnector with Bulgaria opens the possibility for Serbia to procure gas from Azerbaijan through pipelines. It will be able to get the fuel from liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals in Greece and Turkey.
So far, Serbia has only signed a commercial contract with Azerbaijan, for the delivery of 400 million cubic meters of natural gas by the end of 2024.
The total value of the new Serbia-Bulgaria gas interconnection is EUR 85.5 million, out of which EUR 49.6 million is a grant from the European Union, and EUR 25 million is a loan from the European Investment Bank. The remainder was provided by Serbia.
Vučić: The pipeline will bring lower gas prices
President Aleksandar Vučić said the gas pipeline would bring security of supply and lower gas prices.
Now Serbia will be able to buy gas from seven LNG terminals on the open market, Vučić added.
According to Minister of Mining and Energy Dubravka Đedović, Serbia managed to finish the construction of the pipeline in just one year and close the deal on deliveries with friends from Azerbaijan.
It is an important gas supply project for eastern and central Serbia, for Central and Eastern Europe, and for the further gasification of the southern part of Serbia, Đedović pointed out.
Giaufret: The project that will end Serbia’s dependence on Russian gas
Head of the EU Delegation Emanuele Giaufret said the commissioning of the gas pipeline represents an important milestone in strengthening Serbia’s energy security by diversifying the energy supply.
The EU strongly supported the project, to end Serbia’s dependence on Russian gas, Giaufret stressed.
Aliyev: Serbia and Azerbaijan are strategic partners
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said his country and Serbia are strategic partners with rapidly developing relations.
“My personal relationship and friendship with Aleksandar contributed to the development of cooperation,” Aliyev stressed.
According to President of Bulgaria Rumen Radev, the gas interconnection is much more than an infrastructure project – it represents a symbol of successful cooperation between Serbia, Bulgaria, and Azerbaijan.
The gas pipeline is a guarantee for diversification and security of supply not only for Bulgaria and Serbia, but for the entire region, said Radev, adding it is why the European Commission included it on its list of projects of mutual interest.