Azerbaijan president Ilham Aliyev on Saturday (1 October) attended the opening ceremony of the Greece-Bulgaria Gas Interconnector (ICGB),held in Sofia, Bulgaria.
IGB will allow for the transportation of Azerbaijani gas to the Balkans and beyond and is an important development in the quest for European energy security. ICGB will deliver natural gas produced from Azerbaijan's "Shahdeniz-2" field to Bulgaria. The Bulgarian state company "Bulgargaz EAD" has signed an agreement with the "Shahdeniz" consortium. The annual transmission capacity of the pipeline will be 3 billion cubic meters. In future this can be increased to 5 billion cubic meters per year. Thus, Azerbaijan's natural gas will meet 25-30 percent of Bulgaria's demand.
It should also be noted that the transportation of Azerbaijani gas to Europe began at the end of 2020 with the commissioning of the last segment of the Southern Gas Corridor - TAP. Currently, Turkey, Georgia, Greece, Bulgaria, Albania and Italy are buyers of Azerbaijani gas.
The total length of the Greece-Bulgaria Gas Interconnector (IGB) is 182 kilometers, connecting the gas transmission networks of Bulgaria and Greece.
The total cost of the interconnector is more than 240 million euros. In 2010, the European Commission allocated a grant of 45 million euros for feasibility studies and another payment of 35 million euros within the framework of the program implemented by Bulgaria. The European Investment Bank provided a loan of 110 million eurosr
Speaking at the opening ceremony president Aliyev said energy security is a part of national security of every country. The current geopolitical situation in the world proves this once again.
“For almost two years, Azerbaijani gas has been exported to European markets, and now it is entering Bulgaria. The Southern Gas Corridor, which has changed the energy map of Europe, is one of the largest infrastructure projects on the continent. Azerbaijan is proud to be the initiator of the Southern Gas Corridor. The Southern Gas Corridor transports gas to consumers through a new route, including from a new source. Until now, the only source has been the "Shahdeniz" gas field located in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea. However, production in several other gas fields of Azerbaijan will start soon and will contribute to increasing supply volumes.”
President Aliyev added that for many years, Azerbaijan has been a reliable supplier of oil in the international market and, first of all, in the European market, and now it is becoming a reliable gas supplier. “Last year, our gas export was about 19 billion cubic meters. 8.2 billion cubic meters of it were transported to Europe. This means a 40 percent increase compared to the previous year. This year, we will increase our export to 22 billion cubic meters, and 11.5 billion cubic meters of it will be delivered to European consumers.”
President Aliyev referred to the “Memorandum of Understanding on strategic partnership in the field of Energy”, signed in July between the European Commission and Azerbaijan and said Azerbaijan will soon become a reliable supplier of electricity for Europe. Based on this agreement Azerbaijan plans to at least double the supply of natural gas by 2027, and we have full potential to do so.
We have already started consultations with our partners regarding the expansion of TANAP from 16 billion cubic meters to 32 billion cubic meters, and TAP from 10 billion cubic meters to 20 billion cubic meters. Because without it, it will be difficult to provide additional supply. In the field of wind energy, the volume of Azerbaijan’s known potential in the Caspian Sea alone is 157 gigawatts.
The ceremony was hosted by the President of Bulgaria and among those attending the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen and the leaders of Greece, North Macedonia, Serbia and Romania.