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EC approves public support for natural gas interconnector between Greece and Bulgaria

Staff Writer |
The European Commission (EC) has found Bulgarian and Greek plans to support the construction and operation of a natural gas interconnector to be in line with EU State aid rules.

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The project will contribute to the security and diversification of EU energy supplies without unduly distorting competition.

The measures approved by the Commission will support the construction and operation of a 182 kilometres cross-border gas interconnector (called "IGB") between Greece (Komotini) and Bulgaria (Stara Zagora).

The gas interconnector is designed to transport 3 billion cubic meters/year (bcm/y) of natural gas from Greece to Bulgaria by 2021. A potential later phase of the project could increase this capacity to 5 bcm/y and allow physical reverse flow capacity from Bulgaria to Greece.

IGB will be owned by ICGB AD, a 50-50 joint venture between the IGI Poseidon consortium (which includes Edison of Italy and Greek gas incumbent DEPA) and BEH, the Bulgarian gas incumbent.

The total investment cost for the realisation of the IGB interconnector amounts to €240 million. This will be financed through:

- a direct equity contribution of €46 million from the joint venture shareholders;

- a contribution of €45 million from the European Energy Programme for Recovery (EEPR), which is centrally managed by the European Commission;

- a loan of €110 million granted by the European Investment Bank (EIB) to BEH (and subsequently passed-on to ICGB AD); and

- a direct financial contribution of €39 million from the Bulgarian State budget via the Bulgarian Operational Programme "Innovation and Competitiveness" 2014-2020 (OPIC).


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