18 Oct 2023

Glavbolgarstroy presents its contribution to the energy transformation and independence of Bulgaria and Southeastern Europe

At a forum in Brussels, the role of businesses in shaping the future of the energy sector was also discussed

As the only representative of the private sector in the discussion on energy transformation and independence at the 2nd EastMed & Southeast Europe conference, Plamena Nenkova, Deputy Executive Director at Glavbolgarstroy (GBS) emphasized the important role of business in shaping the future of the sector. During the event organized by the Delphi Economic Forum in Brussels, Mrs. Nenkova, who heads international relations and business development at GBS, introduced conference participants to the energy projects the Bulgarian company has been working on for decades. Attention was given to the leading role of Glavbolgarstroy in the implementation of large-scale strategic infrastructure projects in Bulgaria and the Southeast European region over the years.

Alina Inayeh, Advisor to the President of the German Marshall Fund (USA); Heather Conley; Yorgo Chatzimarkakis, CEO of Hydrogen Europe; Dr. Katalin Dobránszky, Senior Director - Innovation, Finance, and Fiscal Affairs at ECSA; Basil Gavalas, Managing Partner at Milhous Associates Consultancy and Development Corporation Greece (Moderator); Plamena Nenkova, Deputy Executive Director of International Relations and Business Development at Glavbolgarstroy Holding; Matteo Fumerio, European Commission; Dr. Athanasios Dagoumas, President of the Regulatory Authority for Energy, Waste, and Water (RAE WW) in Greece.

In the framework of discussions, Mrs. Nenkova noted that the gas interconnection Bulgaria - Serbia (IBS), envisaged as a reverse pipeline connecting the national gas transmission networks of the two countries, is key for the diversification of gas supplies to the Republic of Serbia and the region as a whole. She also shared that the company has managed, in just seven months, to complete the construction of the 62-kilometer gas pipeline, along with all the adjacent technological installations, including reinforced fittings, drainage systems, gas measuring stations, and others. She informed that the interconnector will be put into operation just before the beginning of the heating season.

GBS is currently the prime contractor on three projects related to the expansion of the underground gas storage facility in Chiren (UGSF Chiren) – capacity expansion of Chiren underground storage, construction of a new above-ground facility, and connecting infrastructure. Mrs. Nenkova points out that "the project's goal is doubling the capacity of Bulgaria’s sole underground gas storage facility - Chiren gas storage, which plays an essential role in the functioning and competition of the regional gas market, as well as ensuring additional flexibility of the gas transmission systems at the regional level, while turning Bulgaria into an even more significant factor in the Balkans." GBS head of international relations and business development carries on informing that in the last few years the company has been working on other key projects for Bulgaria’s power sector map, such as the modernization of compressor stations in Northeastern and Northwestern Bulgaria, whose implementation contributed to achieving a significant environmental effect.

"There is an important ecological aspect to the impact of the energy projects implemented by the company in recent years, among which is the completed modernization of the gas compressor stations on the territory of the country, ensuring the reversal of the direction of gas flow. Throughout the implementation of these gas compressor station reconstruction projects, we teamed up with our long-standing partners Solar Turbines, a Caterpillar subsidiary and supplier of low-emission gas turbo compressor aggregates. Integrating 17 low-emission gas turbine compressor units into the route of the Bulgartransgaz transit pipeline system, we contributed to reducing harmful emissions produced by the already decommissioned Russia-manufactured obsolete gas facilities and units by nearly 30%."

On the same topic, addressing the green transformation in the energy sector, last month Glavbolgarstroy, in conjunction with American technological giants Solar Turbines (Caterpillar) and Honeywell, as well as the Italian company Pietro Fiorentini and the national gas transmission operator Bulgartransgaz, signed a memorandum of understanding in Washington. The memorandum referred to a pilot project involving hydrogen technology, and its signing marked the commencement of an innovative pilot project focused on the production and utilization of green hydrogen to meet the technological requirements of the underground gas storage facility in Chiren.

In the course of the discussion, Mrs. Nenkova also expressed confidence that business can be a trustworthy partner of the state and the government when executing important and strategic projects. She indicated the willingness of the GBS company to be an investor in projects that can contribute to the energy transition and independence of Bulgaria. "I believe that Bulgaria has great potential to increase its energy production, as we are now talking about hydrogen, nuclear energy, renewable energy sources, and hydropower. Earlier today, nuclear power has been mentioned in the discussion as a possible solution to achieving the ultimate goal of the green transition, and for decades Bulgaria has been a nuclear power country."

This is the second consecutive edition of East Med & Southeast Europe, organized by the Delphi Economic Forum in Brussels. The event aims to highlight topics with major implications for the region and seeks to promote cooperation between all involved parties at different levels at the European level.