Monday, 04 January 2021 11:47

Bulgaria starts Azeri gas import through Kulata-Sidirokastro – because of the coronavirus

Bulgaria has started importing gas from Azerbaijan via the Southern Gas Corridor as planned, which provided Sofia with a diversified supply source, Platts reports.

"We have a new level of security of natural gas supplies," Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov stated on January 1 on the occasion of the start of imports from Azerbaijan.​Bulgaria has started importing gas from Azerbaijan via the Southern Gas Corridor as planned, which provided Sofia with a diversified supply source, Platts reports

"We have a new level of security of natural gas supplies," Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov stated on January 1 on the occasion of the start of imports from Azerbaijan.​

The Bulgarian company Bulgargaz has a 25-year agreement with the Azerbaijani state-owned company SOCAR to supply 1 billion cubic meters of gas per year from Azerbaijan, which is enough to meet about one-third of Bulgaria's gas needs.

Azerbaijani gas was originally expected to start flowing through the well-known Greece-Bulgaria Interconnector (IGB) from early 2021, but operations on the pipeline were postponed due to COVID-19.

Instead, the gas is temporarily supplied via the already completed TAP pipeline to Bulgaria at the existing Kulata-Sidirokastro connection point on the border with Greece.

Operations on modernization of the Petrich compressor station are ongoing as well, which will let increase the carrying capacity from south to north through Kulata-Sidirokastro.

"The upgraded compressor stations allow us to significantly increase the capacity of the Kulata-Sidirokastro crossing point," says the Bulgarian government statement.

It should be noted that back in July 2016, the Greek gas trader M&M Gas sent the first gas from Greece to Bulgaria in the south-north direction via Kulata-Sidirokastro. This followed an agreement signed in June 2016 by the operators of the transport systems of Greece and Bulgaria - DESFA and Bulgartransgaz - under which gas can also flow in the reverse direction.

The Bulgarian government has stated that supplies will run to Bulgaria via Kulata-Sidirokastro until the IGB is ready.

"Until the beginning of October next year, we will receive gas through a temporary delivery point in Kulata, which connects the TAP gas pipeline with the Greek gas transmission system," the statement said.

Vladimir Malinov, Executive Director of Bulgartransgaz, said on January 1 that gas supply from Azerbaijan is part of the contract between Bulgartransgaz and Socar.

He said deliveries to Kulata-Sidirokastro will continue until October 2021, " after which deliveries will continue at the TAP and IGB junction point in Komotini."

The Bulgarian company Bulgargaz has a 25-year agreement with the Azerbaijani state-owned company SOCAR to supply 1 billion cubic meters of gas per year from Azerbaijan, which is enough to meet about one-third of Bulgaria's gas needs.

Azerbaijani gas was originally expected to start flowing through the well-known Greece-Bulgaria Interconnector (IGB) from early 2021, but operations on the pipeline were postponed due to COVID-19.

Instead, the gas is temporarily supplied via the already completed TAP pipeline to Bulgaria at the existing Kulata-Sidirokastro connection point on the border with Greece.

Operations on modernization of the Petrich compressor station are ongoing as well, which will let increase the carrying capacity from south to north through Kulata-Sidirokastro.

"The upgraded compressor stations allow us to significantly increase the capacity of the Kulata-Sidirokastro crossing point," says the Bulgarian government statement.

It should be noted that back in July 2016, the Greek gas trader M&M Gas sent the first gas from Greece to Bulgaria in the south-north direction via Kulata-Sidirokastro. This followed an agreement signed in June 2016 by the operators of the transport systems of Greece and Bulgaria - DESFA and Bulgartransgaz - under which gas can also flow in the reverse direction.

The Bulgarian government has stated that supplies will run to Bulgaria via Kulata-Sidirokastro until the IGB is ready.

"Until the beginning of October next year, we will receive gas through a temporary delivery point in Kulata, which connects the TAP gas pipeline with the Greek gas transmission system," the statement said.

Vladimir Malinov, Executive Director of Bulgartransgaz, said on January 1 that gas supply from Azerbaijan is part of the contract between Bulgartransgaz and Socar.

He said deliveries to Kulata-Sidirokastro will continue until October 2021, " after which deliveries will continue at the TAP and IGB junction point in Komotini."

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