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EU approves Greece and Bulgaria natural gas interconnector

The EU competition regulators have approved a plan by Greece and Bulgaria to build and operate a natural gas interconnector with public funds.

The European Commission said on November 8 that Bulgarian and Greek plans to support the construction and operation of a 182km cross-border gas interconnector (“IGB”) between Komotinin in Greece and the Bulgarian town of Stara Zagora to be in line with EU state aid rules.

The total investment cost for the IGB interconnector, which is designed to transport three billion cubic meters/year (bcm/y) of natural gas from Greece to Bulgaria by 2021, is 240 million euro.

They said the €240 million (£209m) project will boost the region’s goal of diversifying its energy supplies by carrying three billion cubic meters of natural gas from Greece to Bulgaria each year by 2021.

The support would include a €111 million (£96.7m) loan from the European Investment Bank, €39 million (£34m) from Bulgaria and a 25-year fixed corporate tax regime.

The interconnector will be owned by ICGB AD, a 50-50 joint venture between the IGI Poseidon consortium (which includes Edison of Italy and Greek gas incumbent DEPA) and BEH, the Bulgarian gas incumbent.

According to ibna, European Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “The new interconnector between Greece and Bulgaria will increase the security of energy supply and enhance competition, to the benefit of citizens in the region.

“We have approved the support measures to be granted by Bulgaria and Greece because they are limited to what is necessary to make the project happen and therefore are in line with our State aid rules,” Vestager said.

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