Construction has begun on the expansion of the gas storage facility in Bulgaria, Chiren

Construction has begun on the expansion of the gas storage facility in Bulgaria, Chiren, a project of crucial strategic importance and common interest to the European Union. The aim is to increase the active gas volume to 1 billion cubic meters, up from the current 450 million cubic meters. The expansion involves building new above-ground and underground facilities, including a compressor station, 10 highly productive operational wells, 3 observation wells, and the Chiren-Bhutan gas pipeline, connecting the storage facility to the existing gas transmission system of Bulgartransgaz. This development is expected to significantly impact the Bulgarian market, enhancing supply security, and has attracted keen interest from neighboring countries seeking to reserve capacity.

Additionally, the executive director of Bulgartransgaz, Vladimir Malinov, highlights the increasing market share of LNG, indicating a need for more storage space. He emphasizes that thinking globally is essential, as none of the Balkan countries – Serbia, Greece, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania, Kosovo, and Bosnia and Herzegovina – currently possess a gas storage facility. Furthermore, Bulgartransgaz is exploring the possibility of establishing a second terminal at Alexandroupolis through a joint project with Greece, although a final decision is pending. Despite a temporary 20% drop in gas consumption in Bulgaria during 2022, Malinov foresees an upturn in natural gas consumption in the medium term. The consortium “UGS Drilling Chiren,” led by “Glavbolgarstroy,” with participation from “PM Lucas LLP,” “Botas Pipeline Services,” and the University of Mining and Geology, is entrusted with executing the project to double the capacity of Bulgaria’s sole gas storage facility.

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