ICGB Completes Greece-Bulgaria Natural Gas Pipeline

(Reuters) — Greece and Bulgaria marked the completion on Friday of a long-delayed gas pipeline between the two countries which they hope can contribute to ending Europe's dependence on Russian gas.

The 180-km (112-mile) pipeline, which will have an initial capacity of 3 billion cubic meters (Bcm) with plans to later raise this to 5 Bcm, is expected to be operational by early August, Greek and Bulgarian officials have said.

Russian energy giant Gazprom cut off gas deliveries to European Union member Bulgaria on April 27 over its refusal to pay in rubles. Bulgaria consumes about 3 billion cubic meters of gas per year, of which more than 90% came from Russia.

"This interconnector will transform the energy map of the region," Bulgaria's outgoing Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said of the $226 million pipeline.

The Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB) will carry gas from the northern Greek city of Komotini to Stara Zagora in Bulgaria and be linked to another pipeline carrying Azeri gas.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said completion of the "energy bridge" was an "important moment for the Balkans and Europe as a whole" as it will help Europe cut its reliance on gas from Russia in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine.

"Bulgaria is achieving a real diversification and will start receiving Azeri gas in the next few weeks," Petkov said, adding that the pipeline needed some software checks and permits before gas could start flowing from Azerbaijan.

Greece's annual gas consumption was about 7 Bcm last year.


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