Gas Interconnector Greece - Bulgaria (IGB)

From Global Energy Monitor
This article is part of the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor.

Gas Interconnector Greece - Bulgaria (IGB) is an under construction pipeline linking gas from Azerbaijan to Bulgaria via Greece.[1] It is also known as the Stara Zagora-Komotini pipeline.


The pipeline will begin at Komotini in Greece and end at Stara Zagora in Bulgaria, including approximately 31 km running through Greece and 151 km through Bulgaria.[2] The exact proposed route of IGB can be found on page 74 of the Bulgartransgaz 2020-2029 development plan.[3][4]

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Project Details

  • Operator: IGI Poseidon (50%); Bulgarian Energy (50%)
  • Proposed capacity: 3 bcm/y[5]
    • Proposed capacity expansion: 5 bcm/y[5]
  • Length: 182 km / 114 mi[6]
  • Cost: €240 million (US$286 million)[7]
  • Financing: €84 million (US$97.42 million) in European Union grants[8]; €110 million (US$121 million) loan from the European Investment Bank[9]
  • Status: Construction
  • Start Year: 2021


The IGB pipeline has been under development since 2009, following a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the governments of Greece and Bulgaria outlining the creation of a gas interconnection linking the two countries. The project is currently in its final development stages before beginning construction.[1]

Construction of the pipeline started in 2018 and was expected to be completed by 2020.[1]

The 182 kilometer pipeline will deliver gas from Azerbaijan through Greece to Bulgaria and will maintain an initial capacity of 3 bcm per year, with a potential to expand its capacity to 5 billion bcm per year. IGB pipeline will cost an estimated €160m ($170m), of which up to €45m ($48m) will be provided by the European Commission (EC) under the European Energy Program for Recovery.[1]

In July of 2019, the Greek Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE) issued ICGB AD a license for an Independent Transmission System Operator (INGS). The license pertains to the Greek section of the IGB project and was issued for a period of fifty (50) years. It expires on June 27, 2069. It entitles ICGB AD to start the construction of the project, including the pipeline and auxiliary facilities and equipment on the territory of Greece. Obtaining this permit was the final step prior to construction.[10]

In September of 2019, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissova announced that funding for the Bulgaria-Greece interconnector had been fully secured.[11]

70 of the 182 km of pipeline were reportedly placed as of May, 15 2020, according to a press release on the ICGB website. ICGB stated that "deadlines for the construction of the interconnector are not seriously affected despite the challenges that COVID-19 brings."[5] The project was still under construction as of July 17, 2020.[12] Bulgartransgaz stated in March 2020 that IGB was expected to run in operation by July 1, 2021.[3] However, in its Ten Year Network Development Plan (TYNDP), European Network of Transmission System Operators (ENTSOG) stated the project was delayed and commissioning end date is 2025 due to "appeals against the tender procedures."[13]

In January 2021 the Greek parliament formally ratified construction of the interconnector. Kostas Skrekas, Greece's environment and energy minister, told the parliament that the project is 52% built and is expected to be completed by the end of 2021.[14]


The projects ENTSOG project code on the TYNDP 2020 - Annex A is TRA-F-378[15]

The project's Projects of the Common Interest 3rd List Code is 6.8.1.[15]

SciGrid_Gas in its combined IGG gas transmission network data refers to the project as INET_PL_10450, INET_PL_10451, INET_PL_10452 and INET_PL_10453. [4]

Technical Details

In order to create an expanded maximum capacity of 5bcm, the project will also necessitate maintaining 57barg pressure at Komotini and 52barg outlet pressure at Stara Zagora. A 10MW compressor station will also be required to be installed at Haskovo, Bulgaria. The project also includes the installation of infrastructure including nine block valve stations, SCADA / control and telecommunications facilities, and two terminal scraper stations. Two gas metering stations at Komotini and Stara Zagora, and two off-take and automated gas regulation stations in Kardjali and Dimitrovgrad will also be developed.[1]


The pipeline has been approved for inclusion on the European Commission's Projects of Common Interest list, meaning it can receive public funding from the EU. The project has received EU grants of €39 million from the European Regional Development Fund and €45 million from the European Energy Program for Recovery.[8]

According to the European Commission, "Construction of a bi-directional gas interconnector between the high pressure natural gas systems of Greece and Bulgaria with a technical capacity of up to 3 BCM/year, capable to be increased to up to 5 BCM/year with the installation of a Compressor Station (CS). New onshore pipeline with a length of 185 km and a daily capacity of approximately 13.7 MCM/day. compressor station at Kipoi will be needed to ensure the supply with gas of the IGB from the DESFA system. The power of the CS is of approximately 12 MW. The metering station at Komotini will enable the Gas Transmission System of Greece to supply gas into the IGB pipeline."[16]

In October 2019, the European Investment Bank (EIB) agreed to provide a €110 million loan for the pipeline's construction, estimated to cost €240 million overall.[9]


The project is being developed by the joint venture company ICGB, in which state-owned Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH) and Greek IGI Poseidon hold equal shares. Greek public gas corporation DEPA and Italian energy group Edison own 50% each of IGI Poseidon.[17]

Protest by workers

In August 2020 dozens of workers on the pipeline staged a protest in Haskovo, Bulgaria, saying they had not been paid in three months.[18]

Articles and resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Gas Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB) Pipeline, Hydrocarbons Technology, accessed April, 2018
  2. "IGB". IGI Poseidon. 2016-02-02. Retrieved 2020-08-17.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Bulgartransgaz EAD (March 2020). "2020 - 2029 TEN-YEAR NETWORK DEVELOPMENT PLAN OF BULGARTRANSGAZ EAD" (PDF). Retrieved September 25, 2020.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Diettrich, Pluta, Medrjoubi (July 23, 2020). "The combined IGG gas transmission network data set". DLR Institute for Networked Energy Systems. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "ICGB AD Bulgaria". Retrieved 2020-08-17.
  6. "ICGB AD Bulgaria". Retrieved 2020-08-17.
  7. EIB to Finance Bulgaria-Greece Gas Link, Pipeline & Gas Journal, Oct. 10, 2019
  8. 8.0 8.1 Greece-Bulgaria Natural Gas Interconnector (182KM), IJGlobal, accessed Nov. 25, 2020
  9. 9.0 9.1 EIB supports energy supply diversification in south-eastern Europe, European Investment Bank press release, Oct. 10, 2019
  10. Greece Has Granted a Gas Interconnector License to Bulgaria, July 22, 2018
  11. PM Boyko Borissov: We have fully secured the funding of the Bulgaria-Greece interconnector Focus News Agency, September 11, 2019
  12. "ICGB AD Bulgaria". Retrieved 2020-08-17.
  13. European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas (November 25, 2020). "TYNDP 2020 Annex A.2 – Project Tables". ENTSOG. Retrieved December 2, 2020.
  14. Greece ratifies IGB pipeline deal, EastMed Gas Forum foundation treaty, Xinhua, Jan. 27, 2021
  15. 15.0 15.1 "TYNDP | ENTSOG". Retrieved 2020-08-17.
  16. Interconnection Greece – Bulgaria European Commission, November 2019
  17. ICGB Launces Pipe Supply Tender for Greece-Bulgaria Gas Link, SeeNews, accessed April, 2018
  18. Georgi Gotev, Strategic gas interconnector Greece-Bulgaria on bumpy road, Euractiv Bulgaria, Aug. 6, 2020

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