The ICGB has approved the last tranche of the European Energy Recovery Program (EERP) for the construction of the intersystem gas connection Greece-Bulgaria. The final sum of EUR 22.1 million was approved after the successful completion of a number of audit procedures.
Earlier in October, it marked one year since the start of commercial operation of the interconnector. The new infrastructure already provides nearly 50% of the natural gas quantities needed for Bulgaria's domestic consumption. With the construction of the IGB, a new route for natural gas supplies to other countries in the wider region is also provided.
The total value of the project is 253 million euros. The funds were secured through financing from the shareholders BEH and IGI Poseidon, EUR 109.9 million in the form of a loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB), EUR 45 million under the European Energy Recovery Program (EERP) and EUR 39 million granted under the Operational Program "Innovations and Competitiveness" (OPIK 2014-2020).
In early November 2022, ICGB received approval for the final tranche of the long-term loan from the EIB following a successful audit by independent international experts. The last payment under OPIK was made in May 2023.
Independent audits will continue during the pipeline's commercial operation phase. They will be conducted annually, including documentation audits and field inspections, in order to ensure full compliance with European and national regulations and legislation.
“The completion of this stage of IGB's development is a testament to ICGB's consistent efforts to ensure full compliance in the design phase and meet the highest industry standards. Now reaching our first anniversary in operation with a total capacity of 3 bcm/y, we are already actively working to expand the IGB to 5 bcm/y. This will contribute to the energy security and independence of the region," said ICGB Executive Directors George Satlas and Teodora Georgieva. The two noted that the ICGB is currently exploring market interest in this next step in the project's development.
The IGB project (Greece-Bulgaria Intersystem Gas Connection) is implemented by the mixed investment company "ICI GB" AD, registered in Bulgaria in 2011 with shareholders BEH EAD (50%) and IGI Poseidon (50%). The joint shareholder IGI Poseidon is a company registered in Greece, with shareholders the Greek company DEPA International Projects S.A. (50%) and the Italian energy group Edison S.p.A (50%).
In accordance with its charter, ICGB JSC is the owner of the IGB gas pipeline, financing its implementation, distributing its transmission capacity and receiving revenues from the transmission of natural gas.
The IGB gas pipeline is connected to the Greek national gas transmission system (DESFA S.A.) and the Trans-Adriatic gas pipeline (TAP AG) in the area of Komotini (Greece), and to the Bulgarian gas transmission system (Bulgartransgaz EAD) in the area of Stara Zagora. The total length of the gas pipeline is 182 km, the diameter of the pipe - 32'' - and a design capacity of up to 3 billion m3/year. in the direction of Greece-Bulgaria. Depending on the market interest in using a larger capacity and the possibilities of the neighboring gas transmission systems, the capacity is designed to increase to 5 billion m3/year. with additional construction of a compressor station. /BGNES