New Greece-Bulgaria pipeline set to reduce reliance on Russian gas

Greece and Bulgaria completed a natural-gas pipeline linking the two countries, promising new sources of supply for southeastern Europe as the region seeks alternatives to Russian fuel.

The long-delayed Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria was inaugurated Friday at a ceremony in Komotini, northern Greece, and may start operating by the end of this month. The 113-mile (182-kilometer) conduit will link to the Trans-Adriatic pipeline and eventually the rest of the Southern Gas Corridor pipes bringing Azeri gas to Europe.

Completion of the project, first planned in 2009 and under construction since 2019, is a boon to a region that’s particularly dependent on Moscow for its gas.

Prices for the fuel have soared in recent months as Russian supplies slumped and Europe braced for further reductions. Bulgaria already was cut off by Gazprom PJSC amid a payment dispute.

“The project will transform the energy map of the region,” Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said. “That’ll finally put an end to the Russian energy monopoly.”

In the fall, the new interconnector, known as IGB, will be linked to pipes receiving regasified fuel from Greece’s liquefied natural gas terminal near Athens. Next year, the country plans to connect the pipeline to a new floating LNG terminal being built off the city of Alexandroupolis.

The launch is “an important moment for the entire Balkans, for the whole of Europe,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said. The pipeline will be “a decisive energy bridge that connects the geographical south with the north.”

The 240 million-euro ($243 million) link has a capacity of 3 billion cubic meters a year, which may expand to 5 billion cubic meters depending on demand and the capacity of regional grids.

ICGB AD, the company in charge of the project, is owned by Bulgaria’s state energy holding and a joint venture between Greek state gas supplier Depa SA and Italy’s Edison SpA.

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