The growth of the pipelines in SEE: a political or an economic development?

The growth of the pipelines in SEE: a political or an economic development?

tapIn the last period, by a rapid glimpse seems that we are in a multiplication of initiatives gas pipeline that advance with chaotic and indefinite roadmap interesting directly the South East Europe (SEE). Than without losing here with reporting, about the long list of the initiate, what is evident for sure is that the SEE is passing in the stage of the most interest region regard the growth of the gas pipeline.

In second to understand the reason is interesting a return to genesis that refer to the initiative of the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC), proposed in its first time, by the European Commission’s Communication “Second Strategic Energy Review – An EU Energy Security and Solidarity Action Plan” (COM/2008/781). In regard of particular interest for the last developments, is that in the same document, the Commission proposes also the following among other with the priority regard the North-South Gas and Electricity Interconnections within Central and South-East Europe.

The following with an in-depth retrospect make us to report in particular that the gas market development of the South East region of the Europe was shaped by the Energy Community Treaty (EnCT). In framework of which in 2011, Ministerial Council (MC) invited the Contracting Parties (CPs) to prepare the Energy Community Strategy and the list of Projects of Energy Community Interest (PECI). A Task Force set up see the undertake in a first step the Strategy, prepared and approved by the MC in 2012. As a further step, the project proposals collected by the Energy Community Secretariat (ECS) submitted by 31 December 2012 and endorsed by MC on October 2013. In last, the MC meeting on October 2013 adopted a list of 35 Peci.

Arriving in the nowadays developments concerns, representatives of Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia as well as European Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič and Commissioner for Climate Action & Energy Miguel Arias Cañete have held the first meeting of the Central East South Europe Gas Connectivity (CESEC) High Level Group in Sofia. The objective of the High Level Group was to establish a regional priority infrastructure roadmap and advance its implementation in order to develop missing infrastructure and improve security of gas supplies. The ultimately, objective affirmed is that each Member State of the region should have access to at least three different sources of gas.

The timely implementation of infrastructure is particularly important in view of the vulnerable situation of the Central Eastern Europe and South East Europe region. This was demonstrated most recently by the European Energy Security Strategy and Stress Tests performed in the last year. Security of energy supply as one of the building blocks of the Energy Union project, is one of the priorities for the European Commission.[1]

Than in the last in the framework of expert level analyses – carried out in sub-groups looking at specific infrastructure corridors with the aim of identifying missing links and other barriers hindering effective market integration – has taken place the initiative of the Bulgaria and Greece sent letter to the European Commission, signifying their application for an EU grant worth EUR 220 million for the construction of a gas interconnector linking the two countries (ICGB).

Actually, the budget of the ICGB project company for 2015, amounting only to EUR 10 million, was approved during the meeting of Bulgarian, Greek, Hungarian, Romanian and Slovenian representatives on the future of the Vertical Gas Corridor in Sofia on 22 April 2015. Construction works on the interconnector should start in March 2016 and it is set for completion some time in 2018. The final investment decision is expected to be signed on May 29. And the Bulgaria’s state-run Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH), which has a 50 percent stake in the ICGB project company, is partnering with the IGI Poseidon consortium consisting of Edison S.p.A (Italy) and the Greek state-owned DEPA.

All here above reported leads by our opinion in two simple conclusions: first, the all ongoing is developing in framework of the completing of the ancient project of the internal energy market made today more than ever as the unique option able to guarantee security of supply for all Member States (MSs). In the second, the all to have such market available, depend mostly by the triggering of the private investment in infrastructure. In addition, what is important for the EU is to make all of this bringing to real gas-to-gas competition to all MSs: then it can be say that the Union have achieved something important.

[1] Joint Press Statement by Ministers and Representatives of Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia and the European Commission on 09 February 2015

By : Dr Lorenc Gordani

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