BTA News

PM, Energy Minister Inspect Bularia-Serbia Gas Interconnector

Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov and Energy Minister Rumen Radev inspected Friday the Bulgaria – Serbia gas interconnector and the Kalotina metering station. The CEO of gas transmission operator Bulgartransgaz, Vladimir Malinov was also there. The Prime Minister noted that the interconnector will ensure access to gas sources in Western Europe via a brand new route while Serbia will gain access to the LNG terminals in the region and to the southern gas corridor.  

The reverse-flow interconnector is 170 km long and runs from Novi Iskar near Sofia to Nis. It will make it possible to transmit 1.8 billion cu m of gas a year initially. 

The Prime Minister said that the interconnector will enable Bulgaria to receive natural gas from the West in case of a crisis, and provides diversity and opportunities. “What the Bulgaria-Serbia interconnector does is basically help Serbia have security that if something happens with South Stream, it has an alternative. You remember what happened last year with us. They can buy liquefied gas from other sources, this offers alternatives,” said Denkov.

The Bulgartransgaz CEO said that the interconnector gives Bulgaria access to LNG terminals in Croatia, as well as to the largest LNG market in Austria, Baumgarten.

According to Malinov, the interconnector will bring benefits to Bulgartransgaz as well. Capacity has already been booked in the direction from Bulgaria to Serbia for December – for small quantities. As of January 2024, the capacity from Bulgaria to Serbia, which is about 4.5 million cu m per day, is already over 40% booked.

Energy Minister Radev said that the interconnector is part of the gas infrastructure that Bulgaria has and which includes the Chiren storage facility, the LNG terminal at Alexandroupolis, the interconnector with Greece which brings gas from Azerbaijan.

Asked about a free of BGN 20/cu m on Russian gas to and via Bulgaria that the government introduced a while ago, the Prime Minister said that the fee won’t be charged on Serbia oh Hungary. He also said that talks on the matter continue with the European Commission and the wording “might have to be tweaked” but “there is nothing to worry about”.  He was also adamant that it won’t be Bulgartransgaz that will be paying the fee. “Whether Russia will be paying, remains to be seen,” said Denkov.