European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen welcomed the start of operation of a new gas pipeline for Azerbaijan in Bulgaria. “Today a new era begins for Bulgaria and southeastern Europe,” von der Leyen said at a ceremony with political leaders in Sofia today. The pipeline is a sign of “freedom, emancipation from Russian gas”.
The 182-kilometre “Gas Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria” (“IGB”) line was opened in July but did not come into operation until today, according to the head of the Bulgarian interim government, Galab Donev. Bulgaria, which has not received gas from Russian group Gazprom since April, is becoming “less vulnerable”.
Bulgaria must receive one billion cubic meters of gas a year in this way. In total, the pipeline has a transport capacity of three billion cubic meters. “This could cover all of Bulgaria’s gas consumption,” von der Leyen said – “excellent news in very difficult times.” “Thanks to these projects, Europe will have enough gas for the winter,” he added.