Energy connection – EU and Serbia finance new gas interconnector between Serbia and Bulgaria
Title of project: Gas Interconnector Serbia-Bulgaria
Start of works on pipeline: 14 January 2022
Completion of construction: Q4/2023
Financing: The project of building the gas interconnector Nis – Dimitrovgrad – Bulgaria will be financed partly through EU grants, in the amount of 49.6 million euros, as well as 25 million euros of a favorable loan from the European Investment Bank that Serbia will pay for the part of the gas pipeline passing through Serbia. So far, the Republic of Serbia has allocated 15 million euros and 7.5 million euros for preparatory works and the design.
Gas supply is important for citizens and economy. Gas secures partly the heating for homes as well as functioning of numerous industries. Currently, gas is responsible for 13% of Serbia’s primary energy consumption and Serbia can receive it only from two entry points – through the Balkan Stream pipeline and from Hungary. The gas interconnector, connecting gas networks of Serbia and Bulgaria, will boost the diversification of energy sources in Serbia and the Western Balkan region, allowing Serbia more secure and stable supply from different gas network systems, notably from Azerbaijan and to the future LNG Alexandroupoli terminal in Greece that can receive gas from all over the world.
The new gas interconnector will connect the existing Serbian network in Niš with the Bulgarian network in the capital Sofia, stretching for 109 km on the Serbian side. With the pipe diameter of 700 mm and maximum pressure of 55 bar, its capacity will allow for the transfer of 1.8 billion cubic metres of natural gas annually, equivalent to 60% of Serbia’s total annual consumption.
Besides Niš, the pipeline will also include 3 other gas metering and regulation stations in Bela Palanka, Pirot and Dimitrovgrad, allowing thus for these three cities and regions of Serbia – their citizens, schools, hospitals, businesses, to have access to gas supply, for heating and industrial production. Construction works started in January 2022 and are planned to be completed by the end of 2023.
Due to a considerably smaller environmental impact and greater flexibility in terms of power production, natural gas comes in as optional transitional fossil fuel towards fully renewable sources. Transition to natural gas would also allow towns and municipalities in Serbia with developed district heating systems to construct high-efficiency, small-scale combined heating and power generating systems.
For 2022, the EU is preparing and implementing non-refundable support for the entire energy sector of Serbia in the amount of EUR 100 million including EUR 49.6 million for this project. The European Union is the biggest donor out of all other international donors put together. The EU has invested more than EUR 830 million in the energy sector in past two decades.