EU to fund feasibility study on Slovakia’s proposed Eastring gas link to Balkans

By bne IntelliNews May 28, 2017

The EU has agreed to help fund a feasibility study on the Eastring pipeline project, which would link Slovakia to the Balkan markets, Slovak transmission system operator Eustream announced on May 26.

The project has been chasing EU support since it was first proposed in late 2014. Eustream, which is 51% owned by Bratislava but managed by Czech-based EPH, has pushed the pipeline’s potential to raise the bloc’s energy security by linking Balkan networks - which are highly exposed to any reduction in Russian supplies via Ukraine - to Western European hubs. However, overtures have also been made to Moscow suggesting the project could help distribute its exports.

Eustream officials told bne IntelliNews in 2015 that "any mention of Ukraine virtually guarantees support in Brussels". Bratislava risks losing a reported €800mn per year should Russia stop sending gas exports to the EU through Ukraine.

The feasibility study will be funded under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), Eustream reports, with the sum of up to €1mn, or 50% of the eligible costs. An agreement entered into force on May 12.

European CEF coordination committee, composed of representatives of the 28 Member States, agreed to fund the feasibility study for the Eastring pipeline under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) on 17 February 2017. Grant award and the Agreement with INEA is an important milestone for the planned pipeline with the status of The Project of Common Interest for the EU (PCI list).

“Eastring pipeline will serve as an interconnection between Western European liquid hubs and the Balkan region … an area with the potential to be a highly liquid region offering new natural gas sources from the Caspian region/eastern Mediterranean/Middle East region,” the Eustream statement reads.

The feasibility study will define the technical details of the project, including the possible routing options, it adds. Ukraine recently said Eastring will now use part of its network. Eustream recently agreed with Italian peer Snam to investigate involvement in the operation and upgrade of Ukraine’s network.

The grant application was submitted with support from TSOs from Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria, Eustream also noted.

 

Related Articles

European Commission formally asks for mandate on Nord Stream

The European Commission formally requested on June 9 a mandate from EU member states to negotiate over the rules of operation that would apply to Russia's Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. The ... more

RBI doubles net profit y/y in Q1 as Russian business recovers

Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI), the second largest bank operating across Central and Eastern Europe by assets, reported that net profit almost doubled year-on-year to €220mn in the first ... more

Bulgarian prosecutors charge former foreign minister in procurement case

Bulgaria's specialised anti-corruption unit has charged former Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov with violating the laws on public finance and public procurement, ... more

Dismiss