Monday, February 23, 2009

Bulgaria, Romania to link gas grids at Rousse-Giurgiu crossing

The Sofia Echo

The Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH), through its gas transit subsidiary Bulgartransgas, and Romania's Transgas will start prospecting works prior to the construction of a gas grid link-up at the Rousse-Giurgiu crossing of the Danube River, BEH said in a statement quoted by investor.bg.

Executives from the two companies decided to start prospecting at a meeting in Sofia February 19, along with the prospects of a second link-up at the General Toshevo-Negru Voda border checkpoint in northeastern Bulgaria.

The companies stand a good chance of receiving 10 million euro in European Union funding for the project, Economy Minister Petar Dimitrov said on February 20.

About 90 per cent of Bulgaria's gas consumption is covered by deliveries from Gazprom, the Russian state-owned giant, the bulk of which transit through Ukraine and Romania.

Bulgaria does not have, however, any connections to the gas grids of the neighbouring countries, which means that it was hit the worst in January, when the pricing row between Moscow and Kiev saw deliveries halted in the middle of a cold snap.

To prevent a repeat of the crisis in the future, Bulgaria plans to link its gas network to those of Romania and Greece.

Earlier in February, BEH said that the grid link-up between Bulgaria and Romania would be 15km long and cost 30 million euro, with a total transit capacity of 1.5 billion cubic metres of gas annually. At the time, the exact location was not specified, because no official talks with the Romanian company had been held.

The link-up to the Greek gas grid is expected to cost 120 million euro, of which 40 million could be covered by the European Commission, according to Dimitrov.

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