The European Investment Bank (EIB) will provide a EUR 110m loan for the construction of a gas systems interconnection facility between Bulgaria and Greece (ICGB). The interconnector will also help establish a link with the Trans Adriatic Gas Pipeline (TAP), which runs from east to west through northern Greece.
This will contribute to the diversification of energy supply in Bulgaria and south-eastern Europe. It is part of a wider plan to better connect energy markets among neighbouring countries – including Romania and Hungary – with the aim of improving the security of gas supplies in the region and the efficiency of the networks.
The 182 km-long gas pipeline comprises 151 km in Bulgaria (connected to the Bulgarian gas transmission backbone in Stara Zagora) and 31 km in Greece (linked to the Greek gas system and to the TAP in Komotini). The initial capacity of the new pipeline will be 3 billion cubic metres per year (bcm/y), with it being possible to increase this to 5 bcm/y by adding a compressor station.
The project is supported and co-financed by the European Union. It is included on the list of Projects of Common Interest (PCI), which are key cross border infrastructure projects that link the energy systems of EU countries. PCIs are intended to help the EU achieve its energy policy and climate objectives: affordable, secure and sustainable energy for all citizens, and the long-term decarbonisation of the economy in accordance with the Paris Agreement.
The EIB loan will be provided to the Bulgarian state-owned Bulgarian Energy Holding company. The project promoter and beneficiary is ICGB AD (Inter Connector Greece Bulgaria), specifically established to develop, construct, finance, own and operate the pipeline.
The project will be implemented across the two Bulgarian regions of South Central and South Eastern and the Greek region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace – all of which are classified as EIB priority EU cohesion policy regions.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the European Union’s bank. It is the long-term lending institution of the EU and is the only bank owned by and representing the interests of the European Union Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investments in order to contribute towards EU policy goals. The EIB works closely with other EU institutions to implement EU policy.
As the largest multilateral borrower and lender by volume, the EIB provides finance and expertise for sound and sustainable investment projects which contribute to furthering EU policy objectives. More than 90% of EIB activity is focused on Europe but it also supports the EU’s external and development policies.