Greek-Bulgaria gas link operator joins PRISMA
The operator of a pipeline under construction to connect the Greek and Bulgarian gas markets has joined Europe's Prisma platform for auctioning transmission capacity, Prisma said on January 25.
Interconnector Greece Bulgaria (ICGB) joining Prisma "represents an important step towards the integration of the Eastern European market into our well-established community of European operators, thus increasing the harmonisation and transparency of the gas market," the platform's managing director Gotz Lincke said in a statement.
ICGB will allow Bulgaria to tap gas from Greek LNG terminals and potentially Azeri supplies delivered via the Southern Gas Corridor, breaking Gazprom's monopoly over the country's gas market. Initially the pipeline will carry up to 3bn m3/year of gas, but its capacity could be expanded under a second stage to 5bn m3/yr.
The pipeline was scheduled for completion in 2020 but there were delays in construction. Under the most recent timeline stated by ICGB, the pipeline will start flowing gas in July 2022.
ICGB said separately that over half of the interconnector's capacity, some 1.57bn m3, had already been reserved.
"Four out of the five shippers that have booked capacity are entirely new to the Bulgarian market and that leads us to believe the international and market interest in the project will only be growing after its commercial launch," ICGB said.
PRISMA unites 19 European gas markets, hosting over 40 infrastructure operators with the participation of 660 shippers.