The construction of the interconnector Greece-Bulgaria is among the key priorities of the Bulgarian government in the field of energy and plays a key role in the diversification of sources and routes of gas supply, not only for our country but for the whole region of South-East Europe, Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova said during a meeting with the US Ambassador to Bulgaria, H.E. Eric Rubin. Ms Petkova informed her guest about the progress of the implementation of the interconnector and the follow-up steps to its completion.
According to the Energy Minister, the project is developing in compliance with the targeted pace, so that its construction starts in 2018, and the real exploitation in 2020.
A tender for the selection of a contractor for the construction works will be launched this autumn, Minister Petkova pointed out. In parallel, a new market test will be initiated for the unallocated capacity of the pipeline.
I believe that we can achieve very good results in this test, bearing in mind the already advanced activities on the project realization, the Energy Minister added. She informed her guest concerning the steps taken to obtain funding for the project of EUR 35 million under Operational Programme "Innovation and Competitiveness". The relevant documentation has been submitted to the Managing Authority of the Programme and the European Commission as well.
There is possibility to benefit from European funds in Greece for the realization of the interconnector. That became clear at the recent meeting of the energy ministers of both countries, the Minister shared with the American guest.
The future operation of the thermal power plants at the Maritsa Iztok complex in terms of the recently voted by the European Parliament Reference Document on Best Available Techniques for Large Combustion Plants was also a subject of the conversation between the Energy Minister and the US Ambassador to Bulgaria. Minister Petkova informed about the possibility to request derogation (exception) from the new rules. In order this to happen, however, each installation must apply individually and prove that the resources required to implement the new environmental standards are actually many times higher than the environmental benefits. The Ministry of Energy will set up a special coordination unit to maintain constant contact with the thermal power plants, professional organizations, trade unions and experts in view of the successful resolution of the matter.