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ICGB assigns a contractor for design of GMS Stara Zagora to allow capacity expansion for the IGB pipeline

The Independent Transmission System Operator is working on regulatory and permitting activities in collaboration with neighboring Transmission System Operators (TSOs), aiming to harmonize and expand the natural gas infrastructure across the region, thereby improving connectivity and bolstering energy security.

Following a tender procedure under the Public Procurement Act, ICGB is awarding a Bulgarian company with the contract for detailed design scope for GMS2 Stara Zagora that would allow capacity expansion of the IGB pipeline. The transmission system operator aims at upgrading the Gas Metering Station in Stara Zagora to boost its technical capacity from 3 bcm/y to 5 bcm/y.

The design phase is essential, as it sets the groundwork for the project’s smooth transition to the next steps, including the procurement of long lead items and the start of construction.

Simultaneously, ICGB continues navigating regulatory and permitting activities, including in cooperation with the adjacent TSOs joint efforts to utilize and develop in sync natural gas infrastructure in the region for enhanced connectivity and energy security.

“ICGB’s strategic decision of commencing the detailed design phase at GMS2 Stara Zagora even prior to seeing the anticipated outcomes of the binding phase of the incremental capacity process scheduled for July 2024, which is the usual process and chronology required upon regulation, emphasizes ICGB’s commitment to providing improved gas transmission capabilities to the region”, said ICGB’s Executive Officers Teodora Georgieva and George Satlas.

Last year ICGB committed itself to the expansion, being the main driver for accelerated process timeline ahead of the regulatory requirements, in order to promptly deliver additional capacity to the market. As a next step from the ongoing incremental capacity process, ICGB has published jointly with the Bulgarian transmission system operator a draft Project Proposal for the entry-exit point at Stara Zagora for public consultation on its website. All interested parties are invited to participate by sending their comments and proposals by 4th March 2024. A Project Proposal with The Greek Natural Gas Transmission System Operator DESFA is about to be published as well.

According to its preliminary technical studies, ICGB anticipates having an expanded capacity from 3 bcm/y to 5 bcm/y as of Q4 2025 for the Interconnection Point at Stara Zagora and as of Q4 2026 for the Interconnection Point at Komotini. These scenarios are considering the technical feasibility of the IGB pipeline, as well as the non-binding requests described in the Demand Assessment Reports (DARs) published in October 2023.

The Greece-Bulgaria interconnector connects Bulgaria to the Southern Gas Corridor and is part of the Vertical Gas Corridor. The pipeline strengthens the energy connectivity and security in the region, providing access to natural gas from new, diversified sources.

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