Bulgarian state-owned gas transmission system operator Bulgartransgaz and Macedonian energy company MER Skopje have signed an agreement on the start of a feasibility study aiming to lower their dependence of Russian gas, the energy ministry in Sofia said on November 23.
IN August, the two countries signed a memorandum opening the way for a direct gas link. Bulgaria is seeking to get more independence from Russia as currently it gets most of its gas from Gazprom.
“The planned feasibility study will assess the existing and the necessary new infrastructure on the territory of the two countries,” the energy ministry said in the statement.
The two countries will take into consideration the development of gas pipelines with Greece and Turkey and the development of the Balkan gas hub project when selecting the routes for the construction of the link.
Bulgaria's Electricity System Operator (ESO) and its Macedonian peer MEPSO also signed an agreement on launching joint auctions for the allocation of transmission capacities between the electricity operators of both countries. This is expected to increase the volume of traded electricity in the region and the liquidity of the energy exchanges.
In 2014, Bulgaria’s government proposed to the European Commission to build an EU-funded regional gas hub near the Black Sea port of Varna to dispatch gas deliveries to Greece, Romania, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia and, via those countries, to EU member states in central and western Europe, as well as to non-EU Serbia, Macedonia, and Bosnia & Herzegovina.
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