Bulgaria has started preparatory activities on the construction of the gas connection with Serbia, local media reported. The energy ministry will be allocated BGN11.7m from the EU Innovations and Competitiveness operating program to implement these activities, including consultancy services, archaeological researches, solving legal issues with property on the projected gas connection route, etc. The ministry will have two months to come up with a project proposal in order to receive the EU funding for these preparatory actions.
The gas connection between Bulgaria and Serbia is scheduled to start work in 2020 and its construction should start in May 2019 at the latest, according to energy minister Temenuzhka Petkova’s statement in early 2017. The cost of the gas connection construction in Bulgarian territory is estimated at BGN88m (EUR45m) and will be again covered by the EU program Innovations and Competitiveness. The total length of the pipeline route will be 150km, 61km of them in Bulgaria. The capacity of transported gas may reach up to 5bcm per year. The idea is to diversify the two countries’ gas supply sources.
The gas connection was initially planned in 2012 and was scheduled to be ready in 2015, but the project was delayed due to insufficient funding from Serbia. Serbia might rely on a EUR30m loan from the European Investment Bank and other EU grants to cover the total cost of EUR65-75m of the gas connection construction on its territory.