To set up a joint working group to explore options to build an interconnector between Bulgaria and Macedonia, Energy Minister Petkova has proposed at a meeting with Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, who is on a visit in our country.
In 2012 the gas operators of the two countries discussed the idea of building an interconnector, and then Bulgartransgaz provided support for the project, recalled Petkova. According to her, the work on the future interconnector should continue with information on the feasibility study and the market interest in the interconnector.
As it is well known, in 2015 in Dubrovnik, Croatia, 15 countries from the EU and the Energy Community, including the Republic of Macedonia, signed a Memorandum on a common approach to tackle the challenges for diversification and security of gas supply. The countries have agreed to work together to accelerate the building of missing gas connections and to address the issues which hamper the security of supplies and the development of an integrated and competitive energy market in the region. One of the projects, set out in the Action Plan to the Memorandum, is the development of an interconnector between the two countries.
Minister Petkova informed Macedonian Prime Minister Zaev about the progress on the construction of the interconnectors with Serbia, Turkey and Greece.
There is a huge area for development in the bilateral cooperation in the field of energy between our two countries, the Energy Minister said.
Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev confirmed that energy is one of the main priorities of the new government. He informed Minister Petkova about the provided funding of EUR 2 for gasification of the country. So far, it is only the Municipality of Strumitza that is gasified, but we want to have at least 63 % of the heating of kindergartens and municipal buildings with gas, Zoran Zaev said. In his opinion, Bulgaria can provide expertise to achieve this goal. Zaev also recalled that in most cases of shortage, Macedonia relies on electricity imports from Bulgaria.
Both sides agreed that the strong cooperation in the field of electricity should continue to grow. The built power line Chervena Mogila-Štip - the first direct 400 KV connection between the power systems of Bulgaria and Macedonia - is part of the infrastructure of the European Corridor No 8. This is a stage of the implementation of the strategy of the electricity companies from the Balkan countries to facilitate the functioning of the regional energy market.
Exchange of know-how in electricity generation and the gas field are the concrete areas where we can work together, the Macedonian Prime Minister noted.
Macedonia is familiar with the concept of Bulgaria for a gas hub and the opportunities it would provide for access to natural gas from various sources, also emerged during the meeting. During the discussion, Zoran Zaev confirmed the interest of our neighbours to receive blue fuel from the Bulgarian side.