Vučić: I hope we will finish by October PHOTO/VIDEO
President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, attended the ceremony marking the beginning of the construction of the Bulgaria-Serbia gas interconnector.Source: Tanjug, B92.net
The ceremony was also attended by the President of Bulgaria, Rumen Radev.
President Vučić visited the construction site with Radev and spoke with the contractors.
"It is very important for us to import gas from you, rather than to export it," said Vučić.
The presidents informed that we can use another 10% of the gas capacity in case of immediate needs. Serbia can now take gas and can have access to everything that is made here.
Radev said that we should create a common regional platform in order to get better prices.
"I am very glad that I had the opportunity to talk with President Radev. I want to thank Bulgaria for its friendship, it will always have a good friend in Serbia. I also want to thank you from the European Union, we know how to respect that," he began Vučić continues his address.
Vučić said that he expects this gas interconnector to be ready by October this year.
"I hope that both of us will finish this by October and that gas will flow between our countries," he said.
Vučić also said that Serbia will end the winter heating season with large reserves of natural gas, filled with the Banatski Dvor underground gas storage, with a capacity of 286 million cubic meters and with an additional 180-200 million cubic meters of gas stored in Hungary.
"When the entire winter season is over, Banatski Dvor will be filled with 286 million cubic meters of gas. And we will have between 180-200 million left in our warehouses in Hungary," Vučić told reporters.
Vučić pointed out that these are large and very important reserves that Serbia is keeping for the next winter season and added that, in addition, it will be necessary to increase capacities because new instability is expected on the market, due to war conflicts and gas price increases.
"If there is one area where we have made serious progress, then it is gas and the transmission system, that is, gas pipelines. We had virtually nothing. Just a part going through Beregovo to Pancevo. That is all we had. So, people need to know that. Central Serbia didn't have a gas pipeline. Today, when you look at Montenegro, it doesn't have a gas pipeline. Some countries don't have it or have one on a very small territory," he said.
He points out that Serbia now has a central gas pipeline with a length of 402 kilometers and that a lot of budget funds have been invested in infrastructure development.
"We invested a lot of money, almost a billion and a half, so we spent a lot of money on it, but it was important for our gross domestic product and the growth of our economy. But as you can see, it helped us a lot to have electricity this winter, because gas goes through Thessaloniki and through TE-TO Pancevo and TE-TO Novi Sad. We managed to show people that we don't have any problems," stressed Vučič.
Vučić pointed out that the price of gas and electricity is among the lowest in Europe.
"Our price is among the lowest in Europe or the second lowest. Both for gas and electricity," concludes Vučić.
Agreement with Azerbaijan
Vučić said that it would be appropriate for Serbia to immediately reach an agreement with Azerbaijan on the import of a certain amount of gas from that country, but that the problem is the price and the fact that they are asking to sign long-term contracts for ten years or more.
He emphasized that the future interconnector enables us to do all that, and that negotiations with Azerbaijan will not be easy.
"Those people want to make money and provide for themselves in 10 to 15 years. None of them will sign contracts for one, two or three years, they all want for 10, 15 or 20 years. So, we have to think. Our industry is growing, our consumption is increasing, there will be more and more gas consumption, less and less coal and fossil fuel consumption. You saw that gas has been declared a green energy by the EU, so there will be much more gas consumption," said Vučić.
He added that, in any case, it would be convenient for us to immediately reach an agreement with Azerbaijan on 0.5 to 1 billion cubic meters of gas, because these are the quantities we are missing.
He pointed out that the proposal of the President of Bulgaria Rumen Radev to buy gas together is very important for us.
"If we go for certain quantities of liquid LNG, let's go together, let's step forward regionally, because when we ask for more, then those ships will prefer to come here, rather than where there is less demand, we will be able to get 10 to 15 percent, and maybe even 20 percent, a lower price," Vučić believes.
He adds that when he became Prime Minister, consumption was 1.1 billion cubic meters of gas per year, and today we consume 3.2 - 3.3 billion.
"Serbia has made a lot of progress in the past nine or 10 years and it will continue to do so in the future. We have to count on those quantities and that's why this interconnector is important for us," said Vučić.
It will be ready in the middle of this year
The intersystem gas connection "Bulgaria-Serbia" (IBS) in Serbia will be 109 kilometers long, and the total length of the two-way gas pipeline through both countries is 170 kilometers, from Novi Iskar near Sofia to Niš.
The gas pipeline has a capacity of 1.8 billion cubic meters of gas per year and is a project of common interest to the EU.
The energy ministers of both countries, Rosen Hristov and Dubravka Djedović, as well as the executive director of Bulgartransgaz Vladimir Malinov and Srbijagas Dušan Bajatović, are attending the gathering on the occasion of the start of works on the construction of the gas pipeline.
The total value of the gas interconnector Nis - Dimitrovgrad - Bulgaria, according to the estimate of the European Investment Bank, is 85.5 million euros, of which the EIB provides 25 million euros in the form of a loan, 49.6 million is non-refundable EU co-financing from IPA funds, while the rest will be expenses to be covered from the budget of Serbia and own funds of JP Srbijagas. The main contractor is Glavbolgarstroy.
As announced, the gas interconnection between Serbia and Bulgaria will be ready for operational work in the middle of this year. The works include the construction of the two-way main gas interconnector MG10 Niš - Dimitrovgrad on the territory of Serbia, between the natural gas systems of Serbia and Bulgaria, as well as the construction of four metering and regulation stations and supporting facilities.
The agreement on the construction of the gas pipeline Nis - Dimitrovgrad was signed back in 2010.