Testing of the infrastructure along the route of the IGB pipeline has started
The project company successfully underwent another independent audit after on-site inspections; construction activities continue at a good pace
All major activities for the construction of the Greece-Bulgaria interconnector continue actively, and in the second half of October the first hydrotests of the infrastructure start. They are already being implemented on the territory of Greece, and the process is expected to start soon along the IGB route on Bulgarian territory.
The hydrotest is one of the most important stages in the testing of the gas pipeline, as it allows to thoroughly check whether the implementation of the infrastructure fully meets the parameters set in the design phase, whether the quality of materials and labor meet all requirements. The hydrotests are carried out in stages, which start after the implementation of all other obligatory non-destructive tests of the already welded gas pipeline. Until the interconnector is put into commercial operation, a number of other procedures are to be completed, including tests with transmission of real quantities of natural gas to ensure compliance with all safety standards and to confirm the durability of the infrastructure over time.
In October, the project company ICGB, which is responsible for the implementation of the interconnector, successfully underwent the fourth independent audit planned in the construction phase, which is performed by the foreign company RSK Ltd. under the loan financing from the European Investment Bank (EIB). Due to the enhanced control required under the EIB funding, the project company is subject to a total of 6 social and environmental audits during the construction phase of the IGB project and several follow-up inspections after commissioning. During the audit, independent experts carried out detailed inspections of the pipeline on the territory of both Greece and Bulgaria. All ongoing construction activities were inspected, as well as the implementation of the crossings under the bed of the Maritsa River and under the "Studen Kladenets" dam. No major violations or deviations from the set parameters were registered during the inspection.
ICGB also received approval for the second interim payment under the European Energy Program for Recovery (EEPR) following the completion of another detailed audit. In parallel with the progress of the construction of the IGB gas pipeline, the project company initiated the process of submitting the request for reimbursement of the eligible costs incurred for the purchase of assets and for performed construction activities. In October, the European Commission (EC) formally approved without comments the second interim payment of EUR 16,503,254.24, with the funds already received. This is an important sign for the constant support for the IGB project by the EC, as well as the high appreciation of the project company and its systematic efforts to strictly apply all procedures and rules in the implementation of the IGB project.
Nearly 140 km of the 182-kilometer route are fully completed - welded and lowered in the trench. The welding activities are completed at 96%; the implementation of the other facilities planned for the project - gas measuring station near Stara Zagora and dispatch center near Haskovo – is progressing as well.
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