Energy-rich Azerbaijan may provide a quarter of Bulgaria’s demand in natural gas.
The Bulgarian Energy Ministry told BGNES that Azerbaijan is planned to launch gas supplies to Bulgaria by early 2020, while the construction of the Gas Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB Pipeline) will be completed by late 2019.
IGB is expected to be connected to the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), a core pipe of the Southern Gas Corridor that will bring Azerbaijani gas to Europe.
IGB will provide a direct link between the national natural gas systems of Greece and Bulgaria with an Entry Point in the vicinity of Komotini and an Exit Point in the vicinity of Stara Zagora. The Pipeline will serve as a gas transportation infrastructure providing diversification of gas supplies to the Bulgarian and South East Europe gas market and supply security to Greece.
The ministry also recalled that Bulgaria will be represented by Energy Minister Nikolay Pavlov in the third ministerial meeting of the SGC Advisor Council s scheduled for February 23 in Baku.
Bulgaria is highly dependent on natural gas supplies, while prices for the commodity in the country are among the highest in Europe. The country imports over 95 percent of its natural gas, while Russia is currently a dominant supplier. Average yearly supplies of Gazprom (Russian energy major) are estimated at a range of 2.5 and 3.0 billion cubic meters (bcm).
In this regard, the Southern Gas Corridor is a project of strategic importance for the entire region of South-East Europe, including Bulgaria, which has supported the project since its initiation.
To reach its objective Bulgargaz signed a contract with Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR for supplies of one billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas per year from the Shah Deniz 2 project.
The gas will be delivered through the Southern Gas Corridor, namely: the South-Caucasus Pipeline, Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP), Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) and the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB).
The SGC envisages transportation of 10 billion cubic meters of Azerbaijani gas from the Caspian region to Europe via Georgia and Turkey.