Bulgaria’s efforts to diversify its sources of natural gas deliveries includes plans to take a minority stake in the proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal near Alexandroupolis, in northern Greece, Bulgarian Energy Minister Temenouzhka Petkova said on November 26.
Speaking at a round-table discussion on gas market integration and Bulgaria’s priorities for improving energy security in the region, Petkova said that LNG offered the opportunity of further diversification of sources, on top of the one billion cubic metres of gas from Azerbaijan, for which Bulgaria already signed a contract several years ago.
“When we talk about the Greece-Bulgaria [gas] inter-connector, we must note the importance of another opportunity for diversification of gas deliveries and that is our participation in the Alexandroupolis terminal,” Petkova said.
“It is a project of extreme importance to the entire region. It is in full synergy with the Greece-Bulgaria inter-connector and that is why the Bulgarian Government discussed the prospect and took the decision to participate in this project as a shareholder, so that we have the opportunity for gas deliveries from various LNG sources, including the US, Qatar and Algeria,” she said.
The current plans envision Bulgaria’s state-owned gas grid operator becoming a minority shareholder in the Alexandroupolis terminal, although Petkova did not mention how large a stake it might take.
Bulgarian Parliament energy committee chairperson Delyan Dobrev told the same round-table that a motion to approve Bulgartransgaz’s participation as a shareholder in the terminal would be put on the National Assembly’s agenda later this week.
Greek ambassador to Bulgaria Grigorios Vassiloconstandakis told the round-table that securing diversified energy sources for the entire region was one of Greece’s main priorities, with the vertical gas corridor, of which the Greece-Bulgaria inter-connector was part, set to deliver gas to Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Hungary and other Central European countries.
US ambassador in Sofia Eric Rubin also emphasised the importance of diversified energy sources, re-iterating his country’s support for Bulgaria’s efforts in that sense.
The LNG floating terminal off the Greek coast near Alexandroupolis, developed by gas company Gastrade, is currently undergoing the market test process. Gastrade envisions construction on the 5.5 billion cubic metres a year terminal starting in the second quarter of 2019 and commercial operations launching before the end of 2020./IBNA