New Gas Corridor to Increase Security of Supply in the Region

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Last Wednesday’s event was attended by representatives of the Ukrainian system operator GTSOU as observers. The company’s CEO, Dmitro Lippa, presented the project of the Trans-Balkan gas pipeline flow back to Central and Southern European countries. He proposed that the parties involved should create “guaranteed capacities” to operate the gas pipeline in reverse mode along the entire Balkan route. He indicated that the GTSOU was ready to sign the Memorandum of Understanding on the Vertical Gas Corridor and would also join the working groups.

The representatives of the Ukrainian operator also stressed the need to increase the capacity of the Bulgarian and Romanian gas transmission systems, as they consider the carrying capacity of the Bulgarian transmission system critical to ensure additional flows. “The market demand assessment that was jointly conducted by the operators of Ukrainian, Romanian and Moldovan gas transmission systems indicated a 20 mcm-worth daily demand for transportation via the Trans-Balkan route to Ukraine’s underground gas storage facilities.

The Trans-Balkan route can meet the demand of customers who plan on transporting gas from the Balkan direction to consumers in Eastern and Central Europe, as well as provide a possibility to store gas in Ukraine’s gas storage facilities,”

said the head of GTSOU. Thanks to the existing infrastructure, the Trans-Balkan gas pipeline is already partially in reverse operation, with more than 0.5 mcm of gas transported in 2023.

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According to a market source of Világgazdaság, Bulgaria, which has a minimal storage capacity of only half a billion cubic meters, would benefit greatly from the capacity expansion, as it could then store gas in Ukraine in the summer and transport it home in the winter. Although Hungary would be left out if the transport were to go through Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine, it is also possible that gas from Romania would be transported to Ukraine via Hungary.

Either way, running the new gas corridor is a good direction from a commercial and security of supply point of view.

For instance, if anything were to go wrong with gas supplies from Serbia to Hungary, Russian gas would have an alternative route to the Hungarian market.

If the gas reaches Ukraine through the corridor, it could easily be transported from there to the Hungarian network through the existing pipelines.

On Friday, GTSOU was already discussing further diversification of gas supply routes with the state-owned DEPA, Greece’s largest gas importer and supplier. They discussed the possible storage of Greek gas in Ukraine, implying the use of the Trans-Balkan corridor. The technical and commercial challenges of expanding the capacity of the gas pipeline were highlighted and it was agreed to coordinate efforts with other potential stakeholders, including Bulgarian, Romanian and Moldovan gas companies.

Source : Hugary Today