Nis, 12 December 2023 (TDI): On Sunday, Serbia in a dignified ceremony inaugurated the launch of an interconnector to a pipeline in Bulgaria. Serbia has become the seventh European country to receive natural gas from Azerbaijan.
The construction of this pipeline would allow the Balkan country to expand its gas resources thereby reducing Serbia’s reliance on Russia. The Serbia-Bulgaria Gas Interconnector will play an important role in strengthening the energy security of South Eastern Europe and the diversification of gas supplies.
The interconnector will bring the pipeline from the Bulgarian town of Novi Iskar to the Serbian city of Nis online, allowing Belgrade to obtain gas from Azerbaijan and an LNG terminal located in the Greek port of Alexandroupolis.
The President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev while speaking at the opening ceremony stated that Azerbaijan’s gas export geography is expanding. The country is currently exporting natural gas to eight states and Serbia has become the ninth country.
Seven of these nine countries are European and undoubtedly the initiation of this new interconnector will make a significant contribution to European energy security, according to Aliyev. He termed the event as a ceremony of strategic partnership.
The Bulgaria-Serbia gas interconnector can carry 1.8 billion cubic meters of Azerbaijani gas. The 109-kilometer gas pipeline in Serbia, funded primarily by the European Union (EU), became operational at a ceremony near the Serbian city of Nis on December 10.
The ceremony was attended by the presidents of Serbia, Bulgaria, and Azerbaijan, as well as officials from the Serbian government and the EU envoy to Serbia.
Serbian mining and energy minister Dubravka Djedovic Handanovic remarked that the project offers Serbia to position itself as a gas provider in Central and Eastern Europe, in addition to more gasification in southern Serbia.
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The European Commission contributed 49.6 million euros ($53.37 million) to the interconnector’s construction. Further 25 million euros were obtained in one borrowing from the European Investment Bank, while Serbia contributed 22.5 million.