ICGB launches incremental capacity process to assess market demand for increasing the technical capacity of the IGB gas pipeline
The process is split into two main phases and is conducted in alignment with adjacent transmission system operators.
The independent transmission system operator ICGB, responsible for the management and commercial operations of the IGB gas pipeline, is initiating the mandatory process for assessing market demand for incremental capacity under Regulation (EU) 2017/459 (NC CAM).
The process is split into two main phases – non-binding and binding phase and in general has a duration of two years. It will be implemented in close cooperation with adjacent transmission system operators (TSOs) Bulgartransgaz (Bulgaria), DESFA (Greece), and the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). It will explore whether there are grounds to increase the existing technical capacity of the Greece-Bulgaria interconnector.
Currently operating with a capacity of approximately 3 bcm/y, the interconnector can reach over 5 bcm/y with an additional investment depending on the market interest. This can happen in line with the planned launch of the LNG terminal in Alexandroupolis, Greece due to the close proximity of the two infrastructures and their great synergy. “We have taken actions to coordinate the process with the three adjacent TSOs and they have confirmed the initiation of the incremental process on their side. By enabling our interconnection point with DESFA and the LNG terminal in Alexandroupolis, we will effectively create a link between global LNG producers and traders and the Southeast European gas market. This connectivity can foster regional energy cooperation, improve supply options, and support the integration of gas markets in the region”, ICGB’s Executive Officers Teodora Georgieva and George Satlas noted.
On July 3rd ICGB launched the first phase of the process where all interested parties are invited to submit their non-binding demand indications no later than the 28th of August. The full documents package as well as all participation rules are available at https://www.icgb.eu/transparency/public-consultations/ All received non-binding demand indications are to be shared among the adjacent TSOs and compiled in Demand Assessment Reports (DARs) for each interconnection point. The reports will be publicly available on ICGB’s website, as well as on the websites of the respective adjacent TSOs.
The next steps, depending on the conclusions of the reports, include drafting project proposals, conducting public consultation, and submitting the final project proposal to the relevant national regulatory authorities.
According to Georgieva and Satlas, ICGB is still exploring the possibility of optimizing the process and offering incremental capacity earlier than the 2-year period of the full procedure. As it is a joint process, the company will hold regular discussions with the adjacent TSOs to align and ensure a coordinated timeline on both sides of the interconnection points at Stara Zagora and Komotini.
IGB is the first route for diversified supplies of natural gas to Bulgaria, guaranteeing increased security of supply and diversity of sources. The new infrastructure provides nearly Bulgaria's annual domestic consumption and creates opportunities for natural gas transportation to other neighboring countries in the region, including Moldova and Ukraine.
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