Energy minister attends opening ceremony of IGB
By Ayya Lmahamad
Azerbaijan's Energy Minister Parviz Shahbazov attended the opening ceremony of the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria of strategic importance in Komotini on July 8, Azernews reports.
I attended the opening ceremony of #IGB of strategic importance in Komotini. Exporting 2.6 million cm gas per day at full capacity to #Bulgaria since July, #Azerbaijan is a stable source of diversified #gas supply and reliable strategic partner," Shahbazov wrote on his official Twitter page.
Speaking at the ceremony, Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that the IGB will give a strong boost to the energy independence of the two countries.
“Today is a very important moment for Greece, Bulgaria, the entire Balkans and for the whole of Europe. Because we did not just inaugurate a natural gas transmission pipeline but an energy bridge that brings Greece and Bulgaria closer,” he said.
He stressed that Greece protects its own energy independence and on the other hand becomes an energy hub for all of Europe. The prime minister mentioned that the pipeline will be connected to TAP and will also be supplied from the facilities in Alexandroupolis.
Moreover, ICGB AD project Executive Officer from the Bulgarian side Teodora Georgieva stated that the commercial launch of the IGB will guarantee secure supplies of natural gas from various sources not only for Bulgaria and Greece but also for the entire region of South-Eastern Europe.
"We have the opportunity to supply gas to the Western Balkans, to ensure supplies to Moldova and Ukraine. Today we mark together the completion of a key stage in the development of the energy system in the region taking a big step forward towards a stronger, more connected and independent Europe," she said.
She added that the end of IGB's construction comes after a number of challenges and obstacles that were able to overcome only thanks to the consistent efforts of the ICGB team, the company's shareholders, the political will of the governments of Bulgaria and Greece and the unequivocal support of the EC.
Additionally, the ICGB project Executive Officer from the Greek side Konstantinos Karayannakos stated that the IGB will reshape the energy map of South-East Europe.
“The IGB is being developed from the very beginning with a number of other key projects such as TAP, TANAP and the Alexandroupolis LNG terminal in mind, and this makes it an integral part of Europe's overall energy strategy and priorities. We began working on this project in a completely different international environment, but today IGB is more necessary and important than ever," he said.
Karayannakos underlined that the IGB is a new route for secure, diversified supplies, and will reshape the energy map of the region.
Azerbaijan and Bulgaria agreed to supply 1 billion cubic meters of gas per year through the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria in 2021. However, because the IGB was still under construction, Azerbaijani gas was delivered to Bulgaria via the Kulata-Sidirokastro interconnection point.
The IGB gas pipeline connects to the Greek national gas transmission system in Komotini and the Bulgarian national gas transmission system in Stara Zagora. The pipeline's length is 182 km, 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.
Ayya Lmahamad is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @AyyaLmahamad
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