Over 80% of the construction activities for the project have been completed, all crossings of the pipeline’s route with the existing infrastructure are now ready
Over 80% of the construction activities for the implementation of the Greece-Bulgaria interconnector have been completed by the end of January. The hydro tests on the territory of Greece are fully completed, and the procedure is already progressing on the Bulgarian part of the route.
Testing of 4 out of 11 sections on the territory of Bulgaria has already been completed. Thus, the total share of performed hydro tests reaches 2/3 of the entire length of the gas pipeline route. The hydraulic tests are performed in the presence of representatives of the Bulgarian General Directorate “Inspection for State Technical Supervision”. The process is key to the completion of the technical part of the project – the tests certify the mechanical strength and density of the pipeline and ensure that the infrastructure is ready for registration as a gas facility.
All 53 intersections of existing infrastructure facilities – roads, highways, railways etc., by the method of screw drilling are already completed.
At the end of January, one of the delayed deliveries of valves needed for the construction of the block valves along the route was completed. The installation works have started immediately, and to date over 30% have been completed. The last batch of valves from the Italian supplier is expected in February, and the EPC contractor has committed to ensure full mobilization of its teams so that the block valves are completed as quickly as possible and in compliance with all professional standards.
In parallel with finalizing the linear part of the gas pipeline, the above ground facilities, which are also part of the contract for construction, supply and design, are also making progress. Namely these are the two gas metering stations (GIS) – near Stara Zagora and Komotini, as well as a dispatch center near Haskovo. GIS Stara Zagora is in an advanced stage of implementation – over 70% completions – and hydraulic tests of the on-site
pipelines and facilities are about to begin.
From the beginning of 2022, the acceptance tests (FAT) of the equipment for the process control system (SCADA) and the accompanying systems for communication, analysis and monitoring have been successfully conducted and integrated. All facilities that are part of the IGB pipeline will be managed and monitored automatically by shift operators thanks to modern remote-control system.
In order to achieve the set date for the start of commercial operation – July 2022, the project company ICGB is actively working on options for optimizing the deadlines for the remaining administrative and certification procedures. With the assistance of the relevant state institutions, this would reduce the period between the handover of the completed site by the Greek contractor and the commissioning of the pipeline, limiting the impact of delays under the EPC contract.
The IGB project is of key importance for increasing security of supply and for ensuring diversification of natural gas sources for Bulgaria and for the region of Southeast Europe.