Burgas-Alexandroupoli pipeline back on table

Burgas-Alexandroupoli pipeline back on table

The construction of an oil pipeline linking Alexandroupoli to Burgas in Bulgaria is back on the table, with the difference now that the new plans provide for the transport of oil from the south (Alexandroupoli) to the north (Burgas) and from there to the markets of the Balkans and Eastern Europe.

The revival of the project is part of the wider plan to wean the European states off Russian fossil fuels. Hence, unlike in the past, it enjoys the backing of the US and the EU.

According to reports, the diplomatic and business mobilization for the revival of the project is in full swing. The project was first envisioned in 1993 to transport oil from the Caspian Sea to Bulgaria and from there via Burgas to the port of Alexandroupoli to be transported by tanker to international markets bypassing the Bosporus Strait. By 2007 the project was one step before the start of its implementation, only to be canceled three years later with Bulgaria’s unilateral and pretextual withdrawal for environmental reasons,

Now it is back with the same route but for a different purpose and with oil in reverse flow. More specifically, oil from sources outside Russia will arrive at the Greek port, which is becoming an energy hub, and through the pipeline it will end up in Burgas and from there it will go to the markets of the Balkans and Eastern Europe. This is a smaller capacity pipeline, namely 10 million tons of oil per year, compared to the 35-50 million tons of oil flow from north to south envisaged in the original plan. The pipeline will follow the route of the IGB gas pipeline up to a certain point

Apparently it is Bulgaria, whose withdrawal in 2011 from the transnational agreement with Greece and Russia signed in 2007 led to the project’s demise, is now at the forefront for its revival and its operation in reverse flow.

The plan to revive the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline was first made public on November 20 by Bulgaria’s Energy Minister Rossen Hhristov at a conference in Athens of the Institute of Energy for SE Europe (IENE). 

On the Greek side, the Copelouzos Group has taken an active role in the project’s revitalization. On the sidelines of the inauguration of the new gas plant in Alexandroupolis, the group’s head, Dimitris Kopelouzos, confirmed his interest in the project and highlighted its major qualities.

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