Baku, Sofia eye bilateral cooperation within SGC [PHOTO]
Azerbaijan and Bulgaria have discussed the current state and future cooperation opportunities between the two countries within the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC).
The discussion took place between Azerbaijani Energy Minister Parviz Shahbazov with Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov in Sofia.
Underscoring the importance of major infrastructure projects such as the Southern Gas Corridor in ensuring regional and global energy supply, Shahbazov stated that Azerbaijan is ready to continue its efforts in this direction.
Moreover, speaking about the necessary steps to expand the Southern Gas Corridor, the minister noted the contribution of Azerbaijani natural gas to the diversification process and energy transition in the coming decades.
In his turn, Kiril Petkov briefed on the implementation of the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB) project, which will be connected to the TAP pipeline. He added that necessary steps had been taken to ensure the pipeline was ready for commercial operation.
With the completion of the TAP (Trans-Adriatic Pipeline) construction on December 31, 2020, Azerbaijan began commercial gas supplies to Europe via the Southern Gas Corridor. Last year, TAP transported 8.1 billion cubic meters of gas to Europe. By late 2022, Azerbaijan plans to increase gas supplies to Europe to 9.1 billion cubic meters, and in 2023 the volume of gas supplies is expected to reach 11 billion cubic meters.
Today, the final work on the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB), which will transport natural gas from Azerbaijan to Bulgaria, is in full swing.
Azerbaijan and Bulgaria agreed to supply 1 billion cubic meters of gas per year through the Greece-Bulgaria Interconnector beginning in 2021. However, because the IGB is still under construction, Azerbaijani gas is delivered to Bulgaria via the Kulata-Sidirokastro interconnection point. Currently, the country receives only one-third of this volume.
The IGB project is being carried out by the joint venture company ICGB AD, which was established in Bulgaria in 2011 and is owned by Bulgarian Energy Holding EAD and IGI Poseidon.
The IGB gas pipeline will connect to the Greek national gas transmission system in Komotini and the Bulgarian national gas transmission system in Stara Zagora. The pipeline's planned length is 182 kilometers, with a capacity of up to 3 billion cubic meters per year in the direction from Greece to 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.
A cooperation memorandum has been signed between ICGB AD and TAP AG regarding joint actions in relation to the future connection of the IGB pipeline and the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline.
The IGB project is critical in terms of increasing supply security and diversifying gas supplies for Bulgaria and the SEE region.
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