Home / News / World /  Balkan states begin work on new pipeline to reduce dependence on Russian gas from Gazprom

Bulgaria is beginning work on a new pipeline to neighboring Serbia that will enable gas supplies from other countries to reduce dependence on Russian flows.

Presidents of Serbia and Bulgaria, Aleksandar Vucic and Rumen Radev, attended the start of construction on Wednesday at a site near the capital of Sofia where the 62-kilometer stretch of the pipe is to hook up by the end of the year with a 108-kilometer section on the Serbian side. The 170 million-euro ($185 million) project is partly financed by the European Union, as part of efforts to diversify gas imports away from Gazprom PJSC.

Completion of the pipe with the annual capacity of 1.8 billion cubic meters of gas will open up new routes through Bulgaria that has developed a gas link to Greece, and to neighboring North Macedonia. Future options include imports of Azeri gas via the Trans-Anatolia Pipeline and the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline.

Bulgaria seeks to complete the construction by October and have the pipeline fully operational by year-end, Vladimir Malinov, chief executive officer of Bulgarian gas grid operator Bulgartransgaz, told reporters. Bulgaria may also seek access to additional supplies for its needs from the Baumgarten hub in central Europe by reversing flows, he said.

Serbia aims to replace its near complete dependence on Gazprom fuel with at least 40% of gas from Azerbaijan and other sources. Its national gas company Srbijagas, which now imports the Russian gas through a Balkan extension of the TurkStream pipeline, started building its section of the new link a year ago.

Bulgartransgaz is developing its section with a 49 million euro government-guaranteed loan from ING, in addition to EU financing and its own funding.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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