Serbia and Bulgaria open new gas link to cut reliance on Russian energy
Photo: Ministry of Energy/telegram

Serbia has completed the construction of an interconnector to a gas pipeline in Bulgaria, which will diversify gas supplies and reduce dependence on Russia, reported Reuters.

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The gas pipeline will allow Serbia to receive gas from Azerbaijan and from the LNG terminal in the Greek port of Alexandroupoli.

The 170 km long gas pipeline connects the Bulgarian town of Novi Iskar and the Serbian city of Nis.

The capacity of the gas pipeline on the Serbian side is 1.8 billion cubic meters per year, which provides 60% of the country's annual gas needs.

The interconnector was built with money from the European Commission (49.6 million euros), a loan from the European Investment Bank (25 million euros) and a contribution from Serbia (22.5 million euros).

"With this interconnector we are securing alternative gas supplies, apart from the Russian gas," Serbian Energy Minister Dubravka Djedovic Handanovic said.

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of Bulgaria Rumen Radev attended the ceremony in Nis.

"The interconnector is significant for the entire region. The war in Ukraine made us think about good neighbourly relations and support," said Radev.

In November, Serbia signed an agreement with Azerbaijan on the purchase of 400 million cubic meters of gas per year from 2024.

"If in 2021, our gas exports to Europe totalled a little more than 8 billion cubic meters, then this year the volume of supplies will reach around 12 billion cubic meters," Aliyev stated.

Europe considers Azerbaijan as an alternative source of energy imports to Russia.