On 19 October 2021, The European Commission adopted and published the Fifth list of Projects of Common Interest (PCI) for key cross-border energy infrastructure connecting the energy systems of EU Member States. The 5th PCI list includes 98 projects: 67 electricity transmission and storage projects, 20 gas projects, 6 CO2 network projects and 5 smart grid projects. The projects are of key importance for the Energy Union and contribute to the achievement of climate and energy objectives: sustainability, affordability and security of supply, as well as the long-term decarbonisation of the economy in accordance with the Paris Agreement.
The work on determining the PCIs is coordinated by regional groups, divided by infrastructures. For the purposes of the 5th PCI list, 4 priority infrastructural gas corridors of the Trans-European Energy Networks (TEN-E) have been defined, with Bulgaria falling into the North-South Gas Interconnections in Central Eastern and Southeastern Europe ("NSI East Gas").
The projects identified as PCIs are eligible for funding under the Connecting Europe Facility ("CEF"), the EU's fund for boosting energy, transport and digital infrastructure.
The projects of Bulgartransgaz EAD, part of the fifth list are included in the following clusters of projects:
Cluster № 6.8. of infrastructure development and enhancement enabling the Balkan Gas Hub, including the following PCIs:
The activities of the Project for rehabilitation, modernization and expansion of the Bulgarian transmission system should lead to ensuring the necessary capacities and reliable natural gas transmission, improving the efficiency, reliability and flexibility of the transmission system. The project is envisaged to be implemented in three phases and in 2022 the implementation of the second phase under PCI 6.8.2, co-financed by CEF with nearly 28.2 million euros, was completed.
- PCI 6.8.3 Gas interconnection Bulgaria — Serbia [currently known as "IBS"] (6.10 on the 3rd PCI list).
The interconnection Bulgaria — Serbia (IBS)`s objective is to connect and provide significant new transmission capacity between the gas transmission systems of the Republic of Bulgaria and the Republic of Serbia, as well as with other countries in the region through existing connections. The pre-investment activities of the project have been co-financed by the Operational Programme Innovations and Competitiveness 2014-2020 with EUR 2.7 million. The construction activities have been co-financed by CEF with EUR 27.6 million.
Cluster № 6.20. increase storage capacity in South-Eastern Europe, including the following PCI:
The project for Chiren Underground Gas Storage Expansion (PCI 6.20.2) envisages storage capacity increase in stages from 550 mcm up to 1 bcm and those for withdrawal and injection from 3.5 mcm/day up to 8-10 mcm/day. The prospects are Chiren UGS to be converted into a commercial storage playing an important role in developing the competition and increasing the benefits for natural gas customers in an integrated and interconnected regional gas market.
In 2022, the project received funding through the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) for the implementation of construction activities for the expansion of the Chiren UGS in the amount of nearly EUR 78 million euros.
The inclusion of these three priority projects of Bulgartransgaz EAD in the 5th list proves the strategic role of the Bulgarian gas transmission system for ensuring security of supply and integration of the gas markets in the region. They will improve energy security and stimulate the diversification of sources and competition between gas suppliers. The implementation of the projects will also contribute to reducing the greenhouse gas emissions by creating conditions for replacing the currently used coals with natural gas.
Comments, questions and recommendations regarding the projects of common interest can be send to the official e-mail address of the company: firstname.lastname@example.org by filling in the enclosed Comment form.