Bulgaria and Greece will speed up the activities necessary for the completion of the natural gas interconnector project between the two countries. The commitment was confirmed during a meeting between Bulgaria’s Energy Minister Temenouzhka Petkova and Greece’s Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Giorgos Stathakis. Petkova is on a Bulgarian delegation visiting Athens, headed by President Rumen Radev, the Energy Ministry in Sofia reported.
The meeting between Petkova and Stathakis focused on the project to build the Gas Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria. The two agreed to concentrate their efforts on the procedures for selecting a construction company and obtaining construction permits and all other necessary documents in both countries.
Discussing the funding of the project, Petkova explained that in addition to the 45 million euro approved by the European Commission, the Bulgarian government has confirmed in several consecutive budget years that it will provide a government guarantee of 110 million euro. She added: “We are completing the process of obtaining 35 million euro in additional funding for the project under Operational Programme ‘Innovation and Competitiveness.’ We will count on European solidarity.” The question of possible additional grant aid under a Greek Operational Programme was raised during the meeting.
Petkova told Stathakis that the gas interconnector is of strategic importance to Sofia, because it will ensure that natural gas can be supplied to Bulgaria via the Southern Gas Corridor and via a future LNG terminal at the Greek port of Alexandroupolis, among other routes. “We and our partners in Azerbaijan have signed a contract on the supply of 1 billion cubic metres of natural gas per year to Bulgaria from the second stage of the Shah Deniz project, which will begin to be delivered via the Gas Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria in 2020.
The sides also discussed the support from the governments of Bulgaria and Greece for the LNG terminal at Alexandroupolis. The Bulgarian Energy Holding is considering joining the project. At Petkova’s invitation, the two energy ministers will continue their discussion on the project in Sofia in July.