100 km of the gas interconnector with Greece are completely ready
The interconnector is of great importance for the security of supplies and the diversification of natural gas sources and we cannot afford to compromise with the agreed deadlines, said the two Executive Officers of ICGB
The two Executive Officers of the project company ICGB - Teodora Georgieva and Konstantinos Karayannakos, reviewed on site the progress of the construction of the Greece-Bulgaria interconnector and met with representatives of the construction company responsible for the project’s implementation. During the meeting, the Greek company assured ICGB’s management that all major activities are actively progressing and the linear infrastructure is expected to be completed on time - by the end of 2021.
During the visit it became clear that more than 160 km of the gas interconnector with Greece are now welded, and the fully completed sections reach 100 km. The preparation of the trench continues in parallel with the implementation of a number of other activities such as non-destructive testing of each weld, shrinkable sleeve application and hydro-tests. Preparations for the passage of the gas pipeline under the Maritza River have already been completed and the teams on site are ready to start drilling in line with the time window for the activity set by the MoEW.
"It is especially important for us that the interconnector is implemented within the agreed timeline and we emphasized this during the meeting with the EPC contractor. The IGB pipeline is of great importance for the security of supplies and the diversification of natural gas sources not only for Bulgaria and Greece, but also for the entire region, and therefore we cannot make any compromises with the agreed deadlines", said Georgieva and Karayannakos. They noted that the project company has included serious compensation in the contract for the construction of the interconnector, which will be requested by the contractor if the implementation of IGB is not completed within the set deadlines. "All parties have an interest in the successful completion of the pipeline within the agreed deadlines, but if these conditions are not met, the project company will not hesitate to activate the contractual compensation clauses. The interests of Greece and Bulgaria will be protected and we have the full support of the two national governments in this regard," said the two Executive Officers.
As of the second half of June, the construction and installation work on the gas metering station near Stara Zagora and a dispatching center near Haskovo are progressing well. The excavation works have been completed, setting the foundations is almost done and the construction of the above ground installations has begun according to plan. Currently, the third environmental and social audit is taking place on site of the pipeline. It is being done by an independent consultant according to the strict European investment bank (EIB) standards and the procedure is part of the control mechanism under the loan agreement between EIB and ICGB's Bulgarian shareholder. During the active construction phase of the interconnector such audits are happening once every three months to ensure that all activities on site are progressing within the set environmental and social commitments of the project company.
The interconnector with Greece is an entirely new route for the transmission of natural gas to Europe and will give Bulgaria and the region access to supplies from new sources. The project will connect Bulgaria with the Southern Gas Corridor and also has excellent synergy with major energy projects such as TAP, TANAP, EastMed and the LNG terminal at Alexandropoulos. IGB will open the Bulgarian market to new traders and will increase the competition, which is expected to allow the end users in both countries to benefit from more optimal prices.
One of the strategic benefits of the interconnector at a regional level is the possibility of access to the gas transmission network for Bulgarian municipalities and regions that have not yet had the option for such connectivity. ICGB has already established cooperation with the licensed gas distribution companies in the region and the interested industrial customers from Kardzhali and Dimitrovgrad. In this regard, the project company has already designed and implemented the necessary technical facilities on the territory of the two cities, providing the necessary conditions for access to the gas transmission network. ICGB is ready to cooperate with all gas distribution companies and industrial customers that have an interest in providing access to the interconnector in accordance with European and Bulgarian legislation.
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