SOFIA Oct 5 Bulgaria could take up to a 25
percent stake in a project to build a liquefied natural gas
(LNG) terminal off the coast of northern Greece, the Bulgarian
energy minister said on Wednesday.
The 380 million euro ($425 million) floating facility will
be linked to a gas pipeline due to be built by Greece and
Bulgaria and would help Bulgaria reduce its reliance on Russian
gas. It will also aim to supply gas to southeastern Europe.
Bulgaria's state-run energy holding company BEH has set up a
taskforce with Greek natural gas company Gastrade, which plans
to build the terminal, to consider joint participation.
The team is due to come up with a proposal by the end of
this month and Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova said Sofia
would then consider its options.
Gastrade, part of Greek energy group Copelouzos, plans to
build the terminal off the coast near the northern Greek city of
"The end of October is the deadline, when the taskforce
should come up with a proposal which should give us clarity
about the possibilities for Bulgaria's participation," Petkova
said at a press briefing with her Greek counterpart Panos
"We have declared readiness to participate as an investor,
as a shareholder with up to a 25 percent stake," she said.
The facility, with an estimated annual capacity of 6.1
billion cubic metres (bcm), will aim to supply gas to
southeastern Europe via another natural gas pipeline scheme that
will cross through Greece, the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria
Bulgaria and Greece signed the final investment agreement
for the IGB link last year and binding bids for the pipeline are
expected by the end of this month.
Gastrade would not necessarily hold a majority stake in the
project, but would like to involve the main market players in
Greece and Bulgaria, Konstantinos Sifnaios, a business
development manager at Gasgrade, said.
Cheniere Energy, a U.S-based liquefied natural gas
(LNG) exporter, has also expressed interest in becoming a
shareholder, Sifnaios said.
A final decision on the investment structure of the
Alexandroupolis terminal is expected by the middle of 2017, with
it due to become operational in the second half of 2019, he
($1 = 0.8937 euros)
(Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; Editing by Susan Fenton)