BAKU, Azerbaijan, June 15. The ICGB, the project company for the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB) received the Final Joint Decision for Certification as an Independent Transmission Operator, the company told Trend.
The certification decision was presented to the two Executive Officers Teodora Georgieva and Konstantinos Karayannakos by the Chairmen of the National Energy Regulators of Bulgaria and Greece - EWRC and RAE – Stanislav Todorov and Athanasios Dagoumas.
With the successful completion of the certification procedure, ICGB becomes the second independent gas transmission operator in Bulgaria. This is a mandatory regulatory requirement that allows the company to commercially operate the Greece-Bulgaria gas interconnector upon fulfilment of certain conditions of the decision, which is already in progress.
The Joint Decision of the Energy and Water Regulatory Commission (EWRC) and the Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE) was announced after a successfully completed approval procedure with the European Commission. The whole process was implemented within an optimized time frame given the strategic importance of the interconnector. A representative of the European Commission also participated in the ceremony and welcomed the project. The Commission emphasized that the new gas connector is an important contribution to the energy security not only for Bulgaria, but also of all EU member states. The EC supports the project from its very beginning, both providing financial assistance and promoting its implementation.
"We are grateful to the EWRC, RAE and the EC for their accelerated work on this process. The gas interconnector between Bulgaria and Greece is a project of great importance for both countries and for the entire region, given the complicated international situation. It is extremely important for us to have such institutional support in order to move forward with the regulatory and administrative processes necessary to bring the interconnector into commercial operation as quickly as possible," said ICGB Executive Officers Teodora Georgieva and Konstantinos Karayannakos.
According to Georgieva, the one key element in the technical implementation of the project remains the completion of the integration and comprehensive testing of the SCADA system, that’s responsible for the overall control and management of the gas pipeline. "This will be the first fully automatic gas pipeline in Bulgaria, and we cannot afford to compromise with the system that will manage the entire IGB infrastructure. We count on the Greek contractor company to complete these processes as soon as possible," said Georgieva.
The ICGB Executive Officer from the Greek side, Konstantinos Karayannakos, emphasized that at every level the focus is towards achieving the earliest possible start of the commercial operation of the gas pipeline. . "Given the situation in the region, we are already actively talking for marketing the available capacity of IGB, which would open many new opportunities for exports to the Western Balkans, Moldova and Ukraine. We should take into consideration that the IGB pipeline is expandable to 5 bcm/y. This will be an increasingly important topic for ICGB in the future, but at the moment we are focused on working with the institutions in Bulgaria and Greece, on which the administrative procedures for the commercial launch of the gas pipeline depend," said Karayannakos. He and Georgieva pointed out that active institutional support and cooperation is needed to optimize the administrative deadlines in order for the prompt launch of the IGB pipeline.
The IGB project is of key importance for increasing the security of natural gas supplies and for ensuring the diversification of gas sources for Bulgaria and the entire region of Southeast Europe. The project will connect Bulgaria to the Southern Gas Corridor and has excellent synergy with other major energy projects such as TAP, TANAP, EastMed and the LNG terminal in Alexandroupolis.