ICGB AD, project company for the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB), that will transport Azerbaijani gas to Bulgaria, has been granted a license for independent natural gas system for the territory of Greece, the project company told Trend.
Reportedly, with a decision of the Greek Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE) published last week, the project company, which is responsible for the implementation of the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria, will be able to perform the activity of natural gas transmission for a period of 50 years.
A similar license for a 35-year period is already received by the Bulgarian energy regulator – Energy and Water Regulatory Commission (EWRC). EWRC is expected to issue the final permit for start of the licensing activity according to the commissioning procedure. Licensing is a key step towards the preparation of the interconnector for the operational phase. It is a confirmation that ICGB is resource-wise and technically prepared for the gas transmission.
The successful licensing of the project company in Greece marks an extremely important stage in the overall regulatory preparation for launch and is one of the last regulatory processes following the successful certification of ICGB as an independent transmission operator. A joint decision by the national regulators of Greece and Bulgaria has been issued at the beginning of July, after an approval of the European Commission. A new two-tier management model of ICGB is about to be introduced, which is a mandatory requirement in line with the restructuring of the company as an independent transmission operator.
"With this successful move in the regulatory aspect, we are taking another step forward towards finalizing the preparations for the operational phase of the gas pipeline. From a technical point of view, it is most important for us that the Greek EPC contractor completes the integration and testing of the automatic control and management system - the so-called SCADA system - as quickly as possible. The IGB is designed as the first fully automatic gas pipeline in Bulgaria and for its efficient and safe operation this process cannot be neglected", said ICGB Executive Officers Teodora Georgieva and Konstantinos Karayannakos. The two emphasized that they are counting on strong and consistent institutional support to shorten the deadlines for the remaining administrative procedures so that the interconnector can become operational as soon as possible.
IGB is of key importance for increasing security of supply and for ensuring diversification of natural gas sources for Bulgaria and the region of Southeast Europe. The project is to connect Bulgaria to the Southern Gas Corridor and will allow carrying out secure deliveries from various sources to a number of countries, including to Moldova and Ukraine.