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Serbia opens pipeline to Bulgaria

Serbia opens pipeline to Bulgaria

Sofia, December 11, 2023, The Europe Today: Serbia on Sunday completed the interconnector to a pipeline in Bulgaria, allowing the Balkan country to diversify its gas supplies.

An opening ceremony for the pipeline was attended by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and his Bulgarian and Azeri counterparts, Rumen Radev and Ilham Aliyev.

“With this interconnector we are securing alternative gas supplies, apart from the Russian gas,” Serbia’s energy minister, Dubravka Djedovic Handanovic, said.

The pipeline, which runs from the Bulgarian town of Novi Iskar to the Serbian city of Nis, will give Belgrade access to gas from Azerbaijan and to the LNG terminal in the Greek port of Alexandroupolis.

On November 15, Serbia signed a deal with Azerbaijan to purchase 400 million cubic metres of natural gas per year from 2024.

The capacity of the 170-kilometer (105-mile) pipeline on the Serbian side is 1.8 billion cubic meters per year, which is 60% of the country’s annual gas demand of about 3 billion cubic meters.

The European Union supported the project with grants totaling €49.6 million ($53.4 million) and loans of €25 million. Serbia itself is not a member of the EU, but has been negotiating to join the bloc since 2014.