Bulgaria’s gas transmission operator, Bulgartransgaz, has outlined its ten-year plan to develop the country’s gas network. The proposed plan includes the construction of new pipelines and the expansion of existing infrastructure, with a total investment of BGN 979.2 million between 2023 and 2025.
The company also aims to invest a further BGN 198.5 million to increase network capacity between 2026 and 2032. Key projects include the Bulgaria-Serbia Interconnection, the expansion of the Chiren Underground Gas Storage Facility, a liquefied natural gas terminal near Alexandroupolis, and infrastructure projects to increase gas volumes to and from Greece and Romania. Additionally, Bulgartransgaz is developing a project for a new hydrogen infrastructure, including a new 250-kilometer pipeline through southwestern Bulgaria, and two new compressor stations in the areas of Petrich and Dupnitsa-Bobov dol. The project will require an estimated short-term total investment of EUR 860 million and will allow a two-way flow of hydrogen between Bulgaria and Greece, with a new interconnection point in the Kulata-Sidirokastro border area. The project is part of the network development scenarios developed by the European Hydrogen Backbone initiative, and it is expected to be operational in 2029.
The expansion of Bulgaria’s gas network will ensure energy security, enable full market integration with other European transmission system operators, and increase the flow of gas to and through Bulgaria. It will also provide access to additional quantities of LNG and gas from alternative sources and enable the transfer of low-carbon gaseous fuels. Furthermore, the development of a hydrogen infrastructure will contribute to Bulgaria’s transition towards a greener economy and reduce the country’s dependence on natural gas imports.
However, there are potential challenges surrounding the development of the gas network, including environmental concerns, such as the potential impact on local ecosystems and biodiversity, as well as the impact on local communities living near the construction sites. Additionally, there may be economic challenges associated with the high cost of the proposed projects, which could lead to an increase in gas prices for consumers.
In conclusion, Bulgartransgaz’s ten-year plan to develop Bulgaria’s gas network is a significant step towards achieving energy security and transitioning to a greener economy. The proposed projects will provide increased access to alternative sources of gas, improve market integration with other European transmission system operators, and facilitate the transfer of low-carbon gaseous fuels. However, the potential challenges surrounding the projects should be taken into account, and the impact on local communities and the environment should be carefully monitored.