New gas pipeline construction has begun between Serbia and Bulgaria

EU: A 171 kilometre (106 mile) long natural gas interconnector pipeline between Bulgaria and Serbia that aims to diversify the two countries' supplies began construction on Wednesday.

The official opening was marked by Bulgarian President Rumen Radev and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic. By the end of 2020, the two countries had already connected their gas networks, allowing Serbia to access a larger grid and import Russian energy through the TurkStream pipeline.

The new pipeline will travel from Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, through Dimitrovgrad, Serbia, and on to Nis. According to reports, it will have an annual capacity of 1.8 billion cubic metres, which represents an increase in capacity of 80% over Serbia's present annual gas requirements.

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Belgrade will be able to import energy from the Southern Gas Corridor and then supply it to southern Europe thanks to the interconnector. According to Vucic, the new interconnector pipeline will enable Serbia to serve as a gas transit hub for other Western Balkan nations.

You may be aware that we constructed our main, 402 kilometer-long (249 mile) gas pipeline about a year and a half ago. However, we require more volumes, so the interconnector with Bulgaria is crucial to enable us to obtain gas from other sources, he told reporters. Serbia is not aiming for de-industrialization, but rather re-industrialization, and we will need more gas, he continued, in contrast to a sizable portion of Europe.

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Vucic noted that the new gas pipeline will enable natural gas imports from Azerbaijan and connect Serbia with Bulgaria, Greece, and other EU nations.

Currently, Russia is Serbia's sole natural gas supplier. Belgrade has already committed to purchasing 2.2 billion cubic metres of gas annually, or 62% of the nation's needs. On May 31, the nation's current contract with Russia's Gazprom expires, and officials anticipate signing a new ten-year agreement.

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In order to improve energy security, they also intend to begin receiving liquefied natural gas from Greece and regular natural gas from Azerbaijan in September.

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