Greece, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary agree to develop natural gas Vertical Corridor

Gas systems operators from Greece, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the purpose to cooperate on the realisation of the Vertical Corridor, which will enable bi-directional flows of natural gas from North to South and from South to North.

The MoU was signed by DESFA (Greece), Bulgartransgaz (Bulgaria), Transgaz (Romania), FGSZ (Hungary), ICGB (Bulgaria) and Gastrade (Greece) in the context of the 22nd World LNG Summit in Athens.

Courtesy of DESFA

By signing the MoU, the companies affirmed their commitment – both jointly and individually – to the development of the necessary projects for the implementation of the Vertical Corridor.

The MoU will be valid for three years with the possibility of an extension for another year.

It was noted that the agreement builds upon the MoU/Joint Statement signed by the Ministers of Energy of Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary for the development of the natural gas Vertical Corridor at the CESEC meeting held in Budapest on 8 September 2016.

The signatories of the new MoU will explore the technical specifications of new connections, pipelines, interconnections or reinforcements of the existing networks and develop the planned projects in the region taking into account the EU’s energy strategies and policies, as well as the relevant developments in the regional gas market.

Courtesy of DESFA

Furthermore, the companies agreed that the MoU in question will form the basis of intensive cooperation in the future, in terms of the possibility of building the necessary infrastructure for the transport of natural gas to the transit countries and to the EU market from Greece through Bulgaria, Romania to Hungary and vice versa.

The companies also agreed to invest reasonable efforts to achieve a non-exclusive long-term partnership for the development of the natural gas systems of the four countries and to initiate discussion on regulatory and economic aspects for the implementation of the Vertical Corridor.

Finally, the companies agreed to seek, where appropriate and relevant, the facilitation and guidance of the European Commission.

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DESFA CE, Maria Rita Galli, stated that this project will significantly contribute to the supply security of the wider region and will further strengthen the role of Greece and the region of SE Europe in the energy map.

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ICGB Executive Officers Teodora Georgieva and George Satlas emphasized the need for close cooperation between the countries of the region to improve energy connectivity and secure more sources of gas supplies.

They highlighted the opportunities for the development of the Vertical Gas Corridor after the successful commissioning of the Greece-Bulgaria gas interconnector, contributing to energy security and sustainability within the region.

“Currently, the interconnector Greece – Bulgaria has a maximum total capacity of 3 billion cubic metres per year. In coordination with DESFA, we have the opportunity to increase this capacity up to 5 billion cubic metres per year, which should happen in sync with the commissioning of the LNG terminal at the Greek city of Alexandroupolis, expected in 2024“, said the two ICGB Executive Officers.

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