Bulgaria opened a new looping section of its transit gas pipeline to Turkey, expanding its capacity and adding the possibility of two-way flows as the Balkan country bids to transport Russian gas from the TurkStream pipeline to Europe.
The new 20-km looping link in southeastern Bulgaria will boost the Trans-Balkan pipeline’s capacity to 15.7 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas per year from its current 14 bcm, and will help increase security of gas supplies.
The new pipeline will allow reversible flows, so Bulgaria can get gas from Turkey, from Azerbaijan and Russia.
Sofia has also launched a tender for an 11 km pipeline to provide a higher capacity link between the new looping section and the Turkish border. However, for now the process has been put on hold, as one US-backed Bulgarian company is appealing the tender conditions.
Turkstream is part of the Kremlin’s plans to bypass Ukraine, currently the main transit route for Russian gas to Europe, and strengthen its position in the European gas market.
Turkstream consists of two lines with an annual capacity of 15.7 bcm each that will run under the Black Sea to Turkey. The first line, already completed, will be used for local consumption.
The second line is planned to run through Turkey to southeastern and central Europe.
Sofia hopes to reach an agreement with Moscow, Ankara and Brussels that some of the Russian gas from TurkStream can be transported through Bulgaria to Serbia, Hungary and Austria, while part of it can be traded at its planned gas hub.
Bulgaria has said it wants to serve as an entry point to Europe, but Russia is yet to decide whether that pipeline will ship gas via Bulgaria or Greece.
Sputnik / ABC Flash Point Oil Distribution News 2018.