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09.06.2016 16:13
Planned Bulgarian Gas Hub to Get Supplies from Eastring
The Balkan gas hub also received vocal support from the tribune of the GIE meeting in Sofia
AUTHOR: Lyudmila Zlateva

  • Bulgartransgaz CEO Georgi Gegov at the GIE annual meeting in Sofia

Bulgarian gas transmission system operator Bulgartransgaz and its Slovak counterpart Eustream have signed today a memorandum of understanding which would allow the planned Balkan Gas Hub in Bulgaria to get gas supplies from the pipeline Eastring, devised to connect the existing gas infrastructure of Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. This would grant Bulgaria access to the closest Western European gas hub at Baumgarten, Bulgatransgaz CEO Georgi Gegov told journalists during the Gas Infrastructure Europe annual meeting which takes place in Sofia.

“Our delegation and the Slovak delegation, we agreed for the gas hub project “Balkan” to have their project Eastring as yet another entry/exit point. This was the subject of the memorandum of understanding we signed today”, Gegov said, adding that the news for a new pipeline is a positive one, as Bulgaria will have another project on its territory.

The terms for capacities, quantities and participation are still open, Gegov went on to explain. In his words the project will use the existing capacities and the ones in the concept for the Balkan gas hub.

According to Gegov, one of the great advantages of this cooperation is the fact that Bulgaria would get access to the nearest West European gas hub at Baumgarten.

“50 bn cub. m of gas go through Slovakia and it is directly connected to Baumgarten, which is the closest hub to us. In case our concept [for a gas hub] becomes reality, we will also have access to the closest gas hub in Europe. This is the positive outcome for us”, Gegov stated.

The expected capacity from Eastring for the Balkan gas hub are between 10 and 15 bn cub. m per year, while Bulgaria has requested that Eastring should be reversible.

“This way, if the gas pipeline is justified and built, it will be used in both directions, according to the gas prices, the quantities, the demand and the seasonal changes”, Bulgartransgaz CEO said.

The concept is yet to be developed in detail, including deadlines. Gegov did not comment on the timeframe of the cooperation project, stressing the importance for Bulgargaz to have a finger in all regional gas projects.

“The [energy] ministry has given us the task to guarantee that all projects which have the slightest chance of being realized, to go through Bulgaria”, Gegov said.

In terms of financing, the planned gas hub will have the possibility to use European financing, but the European Commission’s advice was to seek out big strategic investors. Bulgartransgaz will organize as soon as July of this year, an investor conference, under the auspice of the European Commission, Gegov informed.

The Balkan gas hub also received vocal support from the tribune of the GIE meeting in Sofia. Mirek Topolánek, ex-PM of the Czech Republic and current board member of Eustream, expressed his support for the project during the GIE meeting opening.

“I support fully the ambition to create the Bulgarian, or Balkan, gas hub. It will be a very importand step towards enhancing security of supply for Bulgaria. Each part of the infrastructure of this hub will enable Bulgaria and the Balkan region to be more diversified in supplies of natural gas”, Topolánek said.

He went on to stress the importance of Bulgaria’s gas interconnections with Greece and Turkey, which should enable to country to access gas from the Caspian region via the pipelines TAP and TANAP.

TAGS: Bulgaria | Balkan gas hub | Eastring | Eustream | Bulgartransgaz | Mirek Topolanek | GIE | Gas Infrastructure Europe | natural gas | energy 

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