Investigation Launched Into Bulgaria-Greece Gas Pipeline

The State Agency for National Security (SANS) has launched an investigation into the Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH) after receiving a tip off from the leader of pro-Russian party ABV, Rumen Petkov about alleged irregularities.

The project is key in ensuring the country becomes independent from Russia for its gas but has been delayed.

Petkov, claims that the initially planned construction of two important automatic gas control stations has been removed from the construction contract with Greek company Avax without a corresponding change to the contract’s value.

The project is being co-financed by the European Commission, meaning the project will most likely be subject to sanctions by the relevant European institutions and the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), he added.

Two days after the complaint was submitted, the ICGB pipeline project company replied that the construction was financed not only with EU money but also with funds from the European Investment Bank, which means additional control. 

The company says that both facilities have been phased out due to lack of need, and their value will be deducted from payments to the contractor, which are made only based on verified costs. 

“As the construction is nearing completion, attacks on the project are becoming more frequent, despite the advanced phase,” the company added. 

The country’s authorities are also carrying out an inspection of the security of the official information stored in the Bulgarian Energy Holding. In spring of this year, it became clear that Bulgaria will not receive gas from the new interconnector with Greece until mid-2022.

In October 2020, EURACTIV Bulgaria was the first to announce that the gas interconnector, on which Bulgaria places all its hopes for diversification of Russian gas supplies, will be completed with a huge delay. 

(Krassen Nikolov | EURACTIV.bg, 30 June, 2021)


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