The construction phase of the Greece-Bulgaria interconnector is completed
ICGB’s Executive Officers jointly announced the end of construction activities; support is being sought to shorten the remaining administrative deadlines for the pipeline’s prompt commissioning
The construction phase of the gas interconnector Greece-Bulgaria has been completed. The event was celebrated at the gas measuring station near the Greek city of Komotini, where the pipeline connects to the gas transmission network of Greece and to the Trans-Adriatic pipeline. ICGB Executive Officers Teodora Georgieva and Konstantinos Karayannakos jointly announced the finalization of this stage of the IGB project, emphasizing the huge importance of the gas pipeline going way beyond the national borders of Greece and Bulgaria.
The landmark event was attended by the Prime Minister of Bulgaria Kiril Petkov, the Prime Minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the Ministers of Energy of the two countries - Alexander Nikolov and Kostas Skrekas, the Minister of Energy of Azerbaijan Parviz Shahbazov, high-ranking representatives from the European Commission (EC) and by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and a number of officials.
"Today we mark together the completion of a key stage in the development of the energy system in the region taking a big step forward towards a stronger, more connected and independent Europe. The end of the construction of IGB comes after a number of challenges and obstacles that we were able to overcome only thanks to the consistent efforts of the ICGB team, the company's shareholders, the political will of the governments of Bulgaria and Greece and the unequivocal support of the EC", stated the Executive Officer of ICGB from the Bulgarian side Teodora Georgieva. According to her, the upcoming commercial launch of the interconnector will guarantee secure supplies of natural gas from various sources not only for Bulgaria and Greece, but also for the entire region of South-Eastern Europe. "We have the opportunity to supply gas to the Western Balkans, to ensure supplies to Moldova and Ukraine," Georgieva emphasized.
"The IGB is being developed from the very beginning with a number of other key projects such as TAP, TANAP and the Alexandroupolis LNG terminal in mind, and this makes it an integral part of Europe's overall energy strategy and priorities. We began working on this project in a completely different international environment, but today IGB is more necessary and important than ever. The Greece-Bulgaria Interconnector is a new route for secure, diversified supplies, and will reshape the energy map of the region," said ICGB Executive Officer from the Greek side Konstantinos Karayannakos.
Since the second half of June, the interconnector has been filled with test quantities of natural gas. The route and its above-ground infrastructure have already been successfully tested including with transfer of natural gas in the direction of Stara Zagora - Komotini, and since the beginning of July the Komotini station has also been filled up with gas. The integration of the system for automated control and overall management of the gas pipeline (the so-called SCADA system) continues. The SCADA is responsible for transmitting the information and all data necessary for the safe operation of the gas pipeline through the communication network and will provide the capability to the dispatchers to monitor & control the entire facility from a remote centralized control centre. IGB is the first fully automated gas pipeline in Bulgaria.
At the beginning of July, ICGB was successfully certified as an independent transmission operator. This will allow the company to operate commercially after the launch of IGB. For this purpose, within one month, ICGB should introduce a completely new internal management structure with two-level control.The last stage before commercial operation includes the implementation of administrative procedures under the jurisdiction of a number of Bulgarian and Greek institutions, the total duration of which should be significantly reduced in order for the pipeline to become operational as soon as possible. ICGB’s management relies on active institutional support and political will in order for this goal to be successfully reached.
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