ICGB, the JV developing the Interconnector-Greece-Bulgaria (IGB) gas pipeline, has shortlisted five groups to bid for the design and construction of the 182-km project.
The contract is estimated to be worth 145 million euros (US$164 million). The five were selected from 11 bidders that submitted prequalification proposals to ICGB, which is a 50:50 JV of Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH) and IGI Poseidon. The latter is itself a 50:50 JV between Greece’s state-owned DEPA and Italy’s Edison.
The shortlisted groups are: Greece’s J&P AVAX; a JV between China Petroleum Pipeline Engineering and Greece’s Aktor; a consortium involving Italy’s Bonatti and two Bulgarian construction companies; a consortium of France’s Spiecapag, Vinci and Bulgaria’s Trace Group; and a JV between Germany’s Max Streicher and Greece’s Terna.
The consortia are due to submit their bids to ICGB within the next few weeks.
The pipeline is due to be completed and operational in 2020, in time for gas from Azerbaijan to arrive through the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC), which is currently under construction. Last month, Bulgarian Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova told MPs that construction of the pipeline should begin in the next two to three months. Bulgaria has a contract to purchase 1 bcm per year of Azeri gas, one-third of the country’s annual gas consumption.
The 32-inch (813-mm) diameter pipeline will stretch from Komotini in Greece to Stara Zagora in Bulgaria and have an initial capacity to transport 3 bcm per year when it begins operating. This can be expanded to 5 bcm per year later. The IGB will extend from the eastern end of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) in Greece.
The IGB is seen as a key to diversifying natural gas deliveries in Eastern Europe, where many countries are dependent on Russia for their gas supply. Not only will the IBG have access to Azeri gas, but a connecting pipeline from a planned floating LNG terminal in northern Greece, the Independent Natural Gas System (INGS), will be built to connect with TAP and IGB, allowing gas from other sources to enter the network.
Total cost of the project is estimated at 240 million euros (US$272 million), which is being funded by ICGB, the European Commission, the EIB and Bulgarian state.