The groundbreaking ceremony of the 182km gas interconnector project saw the participation of the Prime Ministers of Bulgaria and Greece


Image: The groundbreaking ceremony of the IGB gas pipeline. Photo: courtesy of "ICGB" AD.

Bulgaria and Greece have broken ground on the IGB gas pipeline, a 182km gas interconnector project between the two countries, which is being developed with an investment of €240m (£211.89m).

The IGB gas pipeline is being developed by Bulgarian Energy and IGI Poseidon under a jointly owned holding company ICGB. IGI Poseidon is owned by Public Gas Corporation of Greece (DEPA) and Italian energy company EDISON.

IGB gas pipeline capacity and route

The projected transmission capacity of the gas interconnector project is up to 3bcm per year, in the direction from Greece to Bulgaria. Through a new compressor station and by enabling physical reverse flow, from Bulgaria to Greece, the capacity of the pipeline can be increased to up to 5bcm per year based on market interest and other factors.

The 32” IGB gas pipeline will be laid between Komotini in Greece and Stara Zagora in Bulgaria. Scheduled to begin operations in 2020, the gas interconnector project will connect the transmission systems of DESFA and TAP in Komotini with Bulgarian Bulgartransgaz’ transmission system.

The pipeline project is expected to improve the security of supply and enable the diversification of gas supplies for Bulgaria and the South Eastern Europe (SEE) region.

IGB gas pipeline contracts

Greece-based J&P AVAX is responsible for the design, procurement and construction for the gas pipeline project, while Corinth Pipeworks S.A Pipe Industry will handle the line pipe supply. The owner’s engineer of the IGB gas pipeline is the TIBEI consortium made up of Tractebel Engineering (Belgium), Tractebel Engineering (Italy), Intber, Ypsilon Consult and Bulgaria Engineering.

ICGB Bulgaria executive officer Teodora Georgieva said: “The continuous corporate efforts of ICGB and its shareholders, the political will of the governments of Bulgaria and Greece and the unquestionable support from the EC helped us to successfully overcome the challenges before IGB.”

The IGB gas pipeline is supported by €149m (£131.55m) funding from the Bulgarian side, a €39m (£34.43m) grant from the European structural and investment funds and a €110m (£97.11m) European Investment Bank loan secured with state guarantee.