Environment and Energy Minister Kostis Chatzidakis has departed for Sofia to sign an agreement about the Gas Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB) with his Bulgarian counterpart, Temenuzhka Petkova, on Thursday.
Following the signing of the bilateral IGB agreement, the delegations of the two countries will attend a working luncheon.
Chatzidakis will return to Athens on Thursday afternoon.
The IBG natural gas pipeline will begin in Komotini in NE Greece, cover nearly 182 km (including 31 km of Greek territory), and end at Stara Zagora in Bulgaria. It will link up with the TAP natural gas pipeline expected to begin operating in 2020, with the Greek natural gas grid and, eventually, with the floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Alexandroupolis. It will thus allow Bulgaria and gradually the greater region access to natural gas from the Caspian Sea and access to LNG.
IBG's construction cost is estimated at 240 million euros, a large part of which will be provided by the European Union.
The project's study, construction and operation is being carried out by ICGB company, a partnership of the state-controlled Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH) and the Greek company IGI Poseidon, each of which will hold a 50 pct stake. IGI Poseidon includes the Public Gas Corporation of Greece (DEPA) and the Italy-based Edison.
Initially, the pipeline will be able to transport 3 billion cubic metres of natural gas annually, with an expansion capacity to 5 billion cubic meters.