Sofia Ceremony Launches Commercial Operation of Greece-Bulgaria Interconnector in the Presence of Government and State Leaders, EC President

Sofia, October 1 (BTA/GNA) – The commercial operation of the Greece-Bulgaria gas interconnector (IGB) was launched with a ceremony in Sofia Saturday. Hosted by President Rumen Radev, the event was attended by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the Presidents of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, of the Republic of North Macedonia Stevo Pendarovski, of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic, the Prime Minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis, of Romania Nicolae Ciuca, of Bulgaria Galab Donev, European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson, as well as the CEOs of project company ICGB, Teodora Georgieva and George Satlas.

Addressing the event, EC President von der Leyen called IGB “a game changer” and “a new era for Bulgaria and for South-East Europe”. “It is a game changer for Bulgaria and for Europe’s energy security. And it means freedom. It means freedom from dependency on Russian gas,” said she.

Bulgarian President Radev said in his remarks that IGB is changing decisively the European energy map. “Finally, we have a real gas flow from Azerbaijan.” This project is important for many countries, he said, adding that “with the expected launch of the LNG terminal in Alexandroupolis, the region will get long-awaited opportunities for real diversification”.

The event was also addressed by Presidents Aliyev, Vucic and Pendarovski, and Prime Ministers Donev, Ciuca and Mitsotakis.

The interconnector is of strategic importance for Southeast Europe and provides an opportunity for true energy diversification of natural gas suppliers to the region. The interconnector provides Bulgaria with direct access to the Southern Gas Corridor and natural gas supplies via the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), the Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) and from the liquefied natural gas terminal near Alexandroupolis in the near future.

The IGB pipeline is 182 km-long, of which 151 km are in Bulgaria and 31 km in Greece. It runs from Komotini (Northeastern Greece) via Kurdjali, Haskovo and Dimitrovgrad to Stara Zagora (Southeastern Bulgaria). The interconnector is part of the vertical gas corridor connecting Greece, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary which provides access to natural gas and LNG from the South Gas Corridor to Southeastern and Central Europe and Ukraine. The total cost of the pipeline exceeds EUR 240 million, of which EUR 45 million came as a grant from the European Commission in 2010 and another EUR 35 million were provided under an operational programme. The European Investment Bank loan-financed the project with EUR 110 million.