A ceremony to inaugurate the Greece-Bulgaria Gas Interconnector (IGB) has kicked off in Sofia, Bulgaria.

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev attended the event.

President of Bulgaria Rumen Radev welcomed President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and other heads of state and government.

The event featured the screening of a video on technical indicators of the interconnector and the importance of the project.

The screening was followed by speeches.

The head of state made a speech at the ceremony.

Speech by President Ilham Aliyev

Thank you very much for this introduction. Dear President of Bulgaria Radev, dear President of the European Commission, Madam Ursula Von Der Leyen, Dear Presidents, Prime Ministers, ladies and gentlemen. First of all, I would like to express gratitude to President Radev for inviting me to attend this historical ceremony. The IGB project will play an important role in strengthening energy security of Europe and diversification of gas supplies. Energy security is part of national security of every country and the current geopolitical situation in the world proves it once again.

For almost two years, Azerbaijani gas is on the European market and now in Bulgaria. The Southern Gas Corridor is one of the biggest infrastructure projects in the continent, which changed the energy map of Europe. Azerbaijan is proud to be the initiator of the Southern Gas Corridor. The Southern Gas Corridor transports gas to consumers by a new route, but also from a new source. So far, the only source is the Shah Daniz gas field situated in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea, but several other new gas fields of Azerbaijan will start production soon and will contribute to increasing the volumes of our supply.

Azerbaijan is, for many years, a reliable oil supplier to international, primarily European markets, and now became a reliable gas supplier. Also, I would like to comment on what Madam President said about renewables. This is also part of our strategic partnership Memorandum of Understanding on energy which was signed this July between the European Commission and Azerbaijan.

So, soon I am sure Azerbaijan will become a reliable electricity supplier to Europe and the proven reserves of our wind potential only in the Caspian Sea is 157 gigawatt and now we are already discussing with our European partners how to bring this energy to the European continent.

Last year, our gas export was around 19 billion cubic meters, out of which 8.2 billion to Europe, and that was an increase of 40% in comparison with the previous year. This year, we will increase our export up to more than 22 billion cubic meters and 11.5 billion cubic meters will go to European consumers. As I already said, this July we signed the Memorandum of Understanding with the European Commission during the visit of Madam Ursula von der Leyen to Azerbaijan, which is a very substantial document. Based on that by 2027 we are planning to increase, to double our supply of natural gas to Europe, at least to double, and we have all the potential to do it.

We started already consultations with our partners with respect to the expansion of TANAP from 16 to 32 billion cubic meters and TAP from 10 to 20 billion cubic meters, because without that it will be difficult to provide additional supplies.

In conclusion, I would like to congratulate the people of Bulgaria, the people of Greece and all of us with this historical event, the completion of this important project and wish IGB a long and successful life.

Thank you!

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Following the speeches, the photos were taken.

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The total length of the Greece-Bulgaria Gas Interconnector (IGB) is 182 kilometers and it connects the gas transmission networks of Bulgaria and Greece.

The project is being implemented by the Bulgarian-Greek investment company “ICGB AD”, registered in Bulgaria in 2011, together with the shareholders of Energy Holding of Bulgaria and IGI Poseidon of Greece, each of which has a 50 percent stake.

The total cost of the interconnector is more than 240 million euros. In 2010, the European Commission allocated a grant of 45 million euros for feasibility studies and another payment of 35 million euros within the framework of the program being implemented by Bulgaria. The European Investment Bank provided a loan of 110 million euros.

IGB will deliver natural gas produced from Azerbaijan’s “Shah Deniz-2” field to Bulgaria. For this purpose, Bulgarian state company “Bulgargaz EAD” has signed an agreement with the “Shah Daniz” consortium. The annual throughout capacity of the pipeline will be 3 billion cubic meters. In the future, this indicator can be increased to 5 billion cubic meters per year. Thus, Azerbaijan’s natural gas will meet 25-30 percent of Bulgaria’s demand.

The transportation of Azerbaijani gas to Europe began at the end of 2020 following the commissioning of the last segment of the Southern Gas Corridor, the TAP pipeline. Currently, Turkiye, Georgia, Greece, Bulgaria, Albania and Italy are buyers of Azerbaijani gas. As is evident, the demand for Azerbaijani gas is increasing in the face of new challenges.