„Bulgartransgaz EAD rehabilitates and expands the existing network and builds new gas connections in accordance with the pan-European goals for the diversification of energy sources and the realization of the energy transition“. Before the participants and guests of the Southeast Europe Energy Forum, which is being held in Thessaloniki, the Executive Director, Mr. Vladimir Malinov, presented the projects the Bulgarian transmission operator is working on.

The forum was attended by the ambassadors of the United States of America to the countries of South-East Europe, representatives of public and private energy companies in the region, as well as energy ministers. Current issues of the energy field were discussed in the light of the dynamics of the energy markets and the opportunities and challenges arising from the energy transition and the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. Special attention was paid to the importance of improving the energy infrastructure, increasing the energy security, the diversification and the digitalization.

„One of the first steps to improve the energy interconnectivity in South-East Europe was the increase in capacity at the interconnection point Kulata/Sidirokastro from 1 mcm/d up to 6,1 mcm/d in the direction to Bulgaria and from 10,1 mcm/d up to 11,1 mcm/d to Greece“, Malinov reminded. Currently Bulgartransgaz EAD is working on interconnecting the gas Interconnection Greece-Bulgaria (IGB) to the national network. The capacity at the interconnection point with IGB will be up to 3 bcm/y from Greece to Bulgaria and 0,7 bcm/y from Bulgaria to Greece. In parallel, the project for a new gas interconnection Bulgaria-Serbia with a capacity of 1.8 bcm/y with the possibility of a reverse flow is underway as well. The available free capacity at the interconnection point Kireevo-Zaječar amounts to 7,6 mcm/d in the direction from Bulgaria to Serbia and 32,0 mcm/d in the direction from Serbia to Bulgaria.

The development of the project for infrastructure for the transport of hydrogen and low-carbon gaseous fuels in the East Maritsa coal region is also important for Bulgartransgaz EAD. It is part of the draft National Recovery and Resilience Plan and provides for a 125 km gas pipeline, adapted for hydrogen transport. Its implementation is in line with the European Union's goals for a transition to a low-carbon economy. Until sufficient hydrogen production is achieved, the infrastructure will transport natural gas and other low-carbon gaseous fuels and their mixtures in different proportions. The infrastructure will connect to the existing gas transmission network of Bulgartransgaz EAD and the IGB. 

Chiren underground gas storage is an important tool, ensuring the security of gas supply. Providing additional storage capacity, a project that is currently underway, will promote natural gas trade, increase market competition and contribute to the functioning of the liquefied gas market. It is one of the projects of common interest to the EU and is among the priorities of the Three Seas Initiative. The expansion of the gas storage facility is in synergy with the project for a liquefied natural gas terminal near Alexandroupolis and will enable gas traders and customers in the region to benefit fully from the dynamic developments and the competitive advantages, provided by the LNG market. Mr Malinov reminded that Bulgartransgaz EAD has already finalised the transaction and has been entered as a shareholder with a 20% share in the project company for the construction of the terminal.

All of the listed projects, on which the Bulgarian gas transmission operator has been working consistently in the recent years, aim to help achieve energy efficiency, security and economic growth in the region of South-East Europe and stimulate the regional development and integration.

During the forum, Mr. Malinov met with colleagues from the Greek national gas transmission operator DESFA, and discussed the progress in the project for a new LNG terminal near Alexandroupolis. He also spoke with representatives of the gas transmission operator of Northern Macedonia regarding the future development of the network in the region. The Executive Director of Bulgartransgaz also discussed topical issues with the representative of the US Bureau of Energy Resources.