Highlights and Expected Benefits of Natural Gas Interconnector Serbia-Bulgaria

At the beginning of December 2023, the natural gas interconnector Serbia-Bulgaria has been put into the commissioning.

By implementation of this project, supported financially by the European Union, the Republic of Serbia has achieved one of its strategic goals set out in the National Strategy for Energy Development of the Republic of Serbia, also resulting in implementing the undertaken obligation of the Republic of Serbia from the Energy Community Treaty.

The interconnector includes 109km of the new pipeline between the border with Bulgaria (entry point) and exit point Trupale, with four gas stations, in Pirot, Dimitrovgrad, Bela Palanka and Nis. Part of the interconnector on the territory of Bulgaria has 61km, from Novi Iskar near Sofija to the border with Serbia. The interconnector, which has a capacity of 1,8 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year, representing 60% of the annual consumption in the Republic of Serbia, shall be managed and operated by Transportgas Srbija doo, state-owned limited liability company incorporated to conduct transmission system operator activities.

By construction of this pipeline, the natural gas pipeline network in the Republic of Serbia has been increased to a total of 3,137 km, whereby Transportgas Srbija doo operates the majority of the network, while Gastrans doo operates 402km of its interconnector and Yugorosgaz-Transport operates with 125km of its natural gas pipeline system located in the southern part of Serbia.

The total value of the investment in the construction of this interconnection on the territory of the Republic of Serbia amounts to EUR 85,5 million, and is financed by the European Investment Bank with EUR 25 million, European Union finances EUR 49,6 million from IPA funds, and the remaining part of the costs (EUR 15 million for construction and EUR 7,5 million for design and preparatory works) was covered from the budget of the Republic of Serbia and funds of JP Srbijagas.

The interconnector is part of the larger initiative of the European Union – South Gas Corridor – the purpose of which is decreasing the dependence of Europe from one source of supply. The main supply for the South Gas Corridor is the natural gas field Shah Deniz located in the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan.

By putting the interconnector into the commissioning by Transportgas Srbija doo a new route and source of natural gas has been opened for the Republic of Serbia, which enabled the Republic of Serbia to enter into a supply agreement for 400 million cubic meters of natural gas yearly, from Azerbaijan, with the possibility to increase the quantities up to three times as of 2027 gas year.

It is expected that the full operation of this interconnector will further contribute to the opening of the energy market enhancement of competition, and implementation of the goals of the green agenda, by enabling the substitution of use of coal for heating and industry with the natural gas.

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