Bulgartransgaz EAD is developing and modernizing its infrastructure to ensure a high level of interconnectivity with significant transmission capacities. This allows not only to secure gas supplies to the country, but also gas flows passing through Bulgaria, to reach the vulnerable countries of the European Union". This was said by the Executive Director of Bulgartransgaz EAD, Vladimir Malinov during Delphi Economic Forum in Greece. He participated in a discussion on the role of the Eastern Mediterranean in energy supply to Central and South-East Europe with regard to development of its LNG infrastructure. The Director-General of DG Energy of the European Commission Ditte Juul Jørgensen, Geoffrey Pyatt - Assistant Secretary for Energy Resources at US Department of State, the Executive Director of DESFA Maria Galli and others took part in the discussion.

Vladimir Malinov presented the progress on implementation of Bulgartransgaz projects aimed at security and diversification of gas supplies.

This year we launched the expansion of Chiren underground gas storage. The availability of sufficient capacity for gas storage, injection and withdrawal is of utmost importance for successful entry into the market of alternative sources of pipeline gas and LNG,” emphasized Malinov. Storage expansion will provide additional flexibility, increase market integration and enhance competition. He recalled that the Chiren expansion being a PCI has received a financial support from the Connecting Europe Facility. The synergy of the project with the LNG terminals in the region, including Alexandroupolis, as well as with the significant transmission capacities at the connection points with neighbouring countries determine the importance of the storage facility in a regional perspective.

Malinov also stressed on Bulgartransgaz EAD participation with 20% as a shareholder in the project for construction of an LNG terminal near Alexandroupolis, Greece - an infrastructure that will provide new gas quantities at competitive prices for the markets in the region and improve their liquidity. These projects are crucial for the entry of new natural gas quantities from alternative sources, thus increasing the energy security in the South East Europe region. "A few days ago, a memorandum between Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Azerbaijan on the STRING initiative was signed in Sofia, which aims at the immediate provision of additional natural gas quantities to Europe from Azerbaijan via a secure route," he added. In his words, the initiative is open to other countries. For example, the accession of Greece as a country where projects for new LNG terminals are being developed and thanks to the infrastructure of the gas transmission operator DESFA, will provide additional gas volumes and diversification for the countries in the region.

Within the framework of Delphi Forum, Vladimir Malinov also participated in a discussion dedicated to energy security and European autonomy in the light of the development and introduction of hydrogen technologies. According to him, gas transmission system operators will have a key role in the process of decarbonization and development of a hydrogen economy. "Our expertise, know-how and significant experience in development and operation of pipeline infrastructure will guarantee the timely availability of hydrogen-dedicated infrastructure." Bulgartransgaz, DESFA and other operators in the region are already planning hydrogen networks' interconnectivity. In this way, hydrogen production in the region will be stimulated and another opportunity for energy independence will be provided.