Serbia-Bulgaria launch gas interconnector

Serbia-Bulgaria launch gas interconnector

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Niš, 11 December 2023 (WAI): Serbia connected the interconnector to a Bulgarian pipeline on Sunday, enabling the Balkan nation to lessen its reliance on Russia and diversify its gas supply.

Once the interconnector is launched, Belgrade will be able to receive gas from Azerbaijan and the LNG terminal in the Greek port of Alexandroupolis. The pipeline runs from the Bulgarian town of Novi Iskar to the Serbian city of Niš.

On the Serbian side, 1.8 billion cubic meters of gas may be transported through the pipeline annually, covering 60% of the nation’s annual gas consumption.

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The European Commission contributed EUR 49.6 million to build the interconnector. Serbia contributed EUR 22.5 million, while the European Investment Bank obtained an additional EUR 25 million in a single loan.

A contract to buy 400 million cubic meters of natural gas annually from Azerbaijan beginning in 2024 was signed by Serbia on November 15.

The importance of the gas supply project for both Central and Eastern Europe and Eastern and Central Serbia was highlighted by Serbia’s energy minister, Dubravka Dziedović Handanović, who was present at the event in the southern region.

The recently opened gas interconnector between Serbia and Bulgaria, according to Bulgarian President Rumen Radev, alters the energy landscape of Europe by offering supply security and diversity to the whole area.

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Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev underlined that the interconnector’s opening will advance energy security for the continent and Serbia’s growth. By 2027, he said, Azerbaijan wants to treble its gas exports to Europe.

Until then, Serbia depended entirely on Russian gas, which it imported from the Russian Federation through the Turkish Stream pipeline.

Following the expiration of the previous long-term deal with Gazprom at the end of 2021, a new agreement with variable rates ranging from 310 to 408 dollars per 1,000 cubic meters was signed in May 2022.

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