Greece and Bulgaria seek to boost cross-border gas flows

A key regional natural gas pipeline in southern Europe is looking to almost double its throughput capacity, just nine months after being commissioned.

The 182-kilometre Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (ICGB) pipeline came online last October, linking the two countries’ gas pipeline networks and giving Bulgaria and neighbouring nations access to alternative natural gas supplies from the Caspian region as they strive to reduce their dependence on imports from Russia.

The €253 million ($278 million) ICGB currently has a throughput capacity of around 3 billion cubic metres per annum of gas, accoding to its operator, also named ICGB.

However, the operator has invited consumers and industry players to express their interest in booking additional throughput capacity for the interconnector, which may increase to more than 5 Bcm per annum, and has set a 28 August deadline for submissions with non-binding demand indications.

The operator said the capacity increase could be achieved through the construction of an additional compression pumping station.

ICGB anticipates a demand assessment for the interconnector in October from its adjacent gas transmission operators in Greece and Bulgaria — Desfa, Trans Adriatic Pipeline and Bulgartransgaz.

If there sufficient interest in a capacity boost, the operators will then produce draft expansion project proposals for in January next year.

The pipeline is owned by privately held Bulgarian Energy Holding with 50% interest and Greece’s IGI Poseidon that is a joint venture between country’s Depa International Projects and Italy’s Edison, with the other 50% interest.