The implementation of the Greece-Bulgaria interconnector continues at a good pace, and all major project implementation activities have progressed significantly since the beginning of the year despite the complicated situation related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Trend reports with reference to the ICGB AD, a project company.
“By the end of May, the welded sections of the pipeline have reached 145 km of the total length of the 182-kilometer route. The terrain is completely cleared, over 170 km of pipes have been distributed on site in preparation for further activities. 90 km is the length of the already fully completed sections laid in the trench. Backfilling and holiday testing are on schedule. In parallel, the field teams perform activities such as coating and production of cold bends, performing crossings with drilling,” said the company.
The IGB project enables the transmission of gas and supplies from new sources, making it key to Bulgaria's energy security and part of the national plan for diversification of gas sources. The capacity of the project is 3 billion cubic meters with the option to reach 5 billion cubic meters. Half of the capacity of the interconnector is already reserved, as four of the shippers are completely new to the Bulgarian market. A contract has been signed for the supply of 1 billion cubic meters from Shah Deniz 2 based on a long-term contract with Bulgargaz.
The conclusion of the contract for construction of the interconnector dates back from the end of 2019, as one of the main commitments of the project company in structuring IGB is the obligation to control costs within the approved budget, which will ensure competitive transmission for customers. The delay in construction activities and the approved update of the construction schedule for the end of 2021 are due to objective reasons related to the global coronavirus pandemic and do not lead to direct losses. The established alternative route through the Greek system and Siderokastro provides a temporary solution for servicing the contract with Azerbaijan until IGB is put into commercial operation.