IGB crucial for strengthening South East Europe’s internal energy market

By Ayya Lmahamad

The Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB) is a project of common
interest, and we consider this interconnection as a crucial piece
of infrastructure needed to diversity South East Europe and
strengthen the internal energy market, EU Commissioner for Energy
Kadri Simson said, Azernews reports.

She recalled that the Bulgarian and Greek Regulatory Authorities
have certified the operator of the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria,
ICGB AD, as a transmission system operator (TSO) for gas,
conditional to the project ICGB AD fulfilling some requirements
related to its corporate governance.

“ICGB AD reported to the commission that it was taking several
measures to finalize the works necessary for the commercial launch
of the IGB,” she said.

Noting that the commission held regular contacts with the
project company and regulatory authorities as well as the
governments of Bulgaria and Greece throughout the project
implementation, Kadri Simson added that the commission also closely
monitored the final steps of project implementation, including
those related to certification.

“As a result, the IGB has successfully been launched on October
1, 2022,” she noted.

Moreover, she emphasized that the commission has no evidence
that the project implementation has been delayed due to
obstruction, but is aware that there have been delays with
constructing the pipeline and consequentially with receiving some
final approvals required for the pipeline to enter into

“Any deliberate obstruction could be considered a crime against
the financial interests of the EU, which could potentially fall
within the European Public Prosecutor’s remit,” she said.

Since the outset, the commission has provided political and
financial support to the project. The project has received €45
million from the European Energy Program for Recovery and €29
million from structural funds. In addition, the project has
received a partial exemption from third-party access rules. The
commission has also approved state aid for public support and
access to Bulgarian structural funds.

The IGB gas pipeline is designed to connect the Greek national
gas transmission system (DESFA S.A.) and the Trans-Adriatic gas
pipeline (TAP AG) in the area of Komotini (Greece), and with the
Bulgarian gas transmission system (Bulgartransgaz EAD) in the area
of Stara Zagora. The total length of the gas pipeline is 182 km,
the diameter of the pipe is 32”, and a design capacity of up to 3
billion m3/year in the direction of Greece-Bulgaria.

The pipeline is designed to increase its capacity up to 5 bcm/y
depending on market interest and the capacities of neighboring gas
transmission systems.

The opening ceremony of the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria was
held in Komotini on July 8, while a ceremony to inaugurate the
(IGB) was held in Bulgaria on October 1.

Ayya Lmahamad is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on
Twitter: @AyyaLmahamad

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