Bulgaria to invite Azerbaijani officials to inauguration of IGB

SEPTEMBER 19, 2022

An unofficial regional meeting on energy issues is potentially on Sofia’s agenda for October, featuring European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and the presidents of Bulgaria, Azerbaijan, Serbia, Romania and North Macedonia, Report informs, citing EURACTIV Bulgaria.

The company that operates the interconnector (ICGB) between Bulgaria and Greece is set to invite high-profile stakeholders to its inauguration on October 1, a day before the country goes to the polls

This will put matters of energy and regional cooperation high on the agenda, particularly with Azerbaijan, who are being courted by several EU countries over their natural gas supply potential.

At the start of September, negotiations began between the shareholders of the Trans-Adriatic Gas Pipeline (TAP) to expand its capacity. Azerbaijan owns 20% of TAP with other shareholders, including British Petroleum, Snam, Fluxys and Enagás.

The pipeline began commercial operations in November 2020, delivering ten billion cubic metres of gas per year from the Shah Deniz offshore gas field in the Caspian Sea to the EU — eight billion cubic metres of gas per year to Italy and the remaining two billion cubic metres to Greece and Bulgaria.

Bulgaria wants to increase gas flows from Azerbaijan by between half and one billion cubic metres per year after Russian gas flows were suspended earlier this year.

Bulgaria now has a contract for the supply of one billion cubic metres of gas, which is one-third of its annual needs.

The new gas interconnector with Greece has a capacity of three billion cubic metres per year but can be increased to five billion cubic metres with more powerful gas compressors, in which Romania is also interested.

During a visit to Baku last July, Von der Leyen signed an agreement with President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev to double gas imports from Azerbaijan by 2027.