IGB can completely change gas industry’s shape in southern Europe – Oxford Institute expert
The Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB), together with other infrastructure being constructed, has potential to completely change the shape of the gas industry in southern Europe, Julian Bowden, Senior Visiting Research Fellow at Oxford Institute for Energy Studies (OIES) told Trend.
"It is a relatively small interconnector pipeline, 3 bcma initially and then expandable to 5 bcm with the construction of a compressor station. It will enable the direct from of Azerbaijani gas from Greece to Bulgaria, rather than an indirect flow in the older existing pipeline bringing Russian gas southwards from Bulgaria to Greece from Turk Stream," noted the expert.
Bowden believes that IGB must not been seen in isolation, but should be seen as part of overall changes in the region in terms of physical infrastructure, regulatory changes and co-operation between the regions TSOs (transmission system operators in each of the countries).
In this context, the completion of the LNG terminal at Alexandroupolis in northern Greece in late 2023 is important, as it will use IGB to move gas northwards to Bulgaria. At present, progress on the terminal (an offshore FSRU facility) seems good, and late 2023 appears to be realistic. It will have capacity of over 5 bcma. This new terminal, plus the existing Greece terminal at Revythoussa, will allow the movement of a lot of LNG into Greece and Bulgaria. It will probably accelerate the expansion of IGB to 5 bcm," he added.
The OIES expert noted that current gas demand in Greece is around 6 bcma, in Bulgaria 3.5 bcma.
"These 2 terminals (Revythoussa and Alexandropolis) would allow this demand to be completely met with LNG. If we add the pipeline gas from Azerbaijan, then there is plenty of capacity now to import gas and move the gas to Bulgaria and beyond. Strategically, therefore, what we see here is the potential of these countries to remove or displace all Russian gas from their supply arrangements," said Bowden.
IGB connects Bulgaria with the Southern Gas Corridor and will enable secure supplies from a variety of sources to several countries in Southeast and Central Europe, including Moldova and Ukraine.
The pipeline is set to transport 1 billion cubic meters of Azerbaijani gas per year to Bulgaria. Its capacity is 3 billion cubic meters with the possibility of expanding to 5 billion cubic meters per year.
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