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SEEGAS Forum notes ‘significant’ diversification progress, highlights lack of Ukraine-Romania trade

The SEEGAS initiative has made significant progress in diversifying away from Russian gas supplies, the Energy Community Secretariat reported on 7 April (Friday). Gas transmission system operators from Central and Eastern Europe held a third extraordinary crisis response meeting in Vienna on 30 March and reported the implementation of various measures to continue the region’s diversification efforts.

As noted during the meeting, the Greek operator, DESFA announced earlier this month its intention to increase the capacity of the Greek gas grid to enable more internal and regional supplies by holding a market test, following the successful recent auctions for regasification capacity and booking of unloading slots for the period 2023-2027.

Turkish gas incumbent, BOTAS also expressed its readiness to contribute to the region’s security of supply, with a current annual export capacity to Bulgaria of three billion cubic meters, potentially increasing to 15-20 billion cubic metres (bcm). However, concerns were raised about possible supplies from Turkey, given the lack of an interconnection agreement defining the technical details related to cross-border flows between Turkey and Bulgaria.

The meeting also highlighted the lack of cross-border trading between Ukraine and Romania, as the latter does not allow volumes to be exported to Ukraine from the domestic market. Representatives of Ukraine’s gas transmission system operator, GTSOU and storage operator, UTG reiterated the importance of foreign companies doing business with Ukraine by importing and injecting volumes into local facilities.

The SEEGAS forum continued on 31 March with a meeting of regional exchanges. These exchanges are working together with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the European consulting firm, Kantor to produce a study for the integration of regional clearing operations. The forum also welcomed the CEO and Founder of the Israeli East Med Energy Exchange, Doron Liban who presented the exchange’s gas physical spot market, which opened last November.

The SEEGAS initiative is a trans-regional cooperation platform for the development of an integrated South-Eastern and Eastern European gas market. Alongside the above-mentioned BOTAS and DESFA, its members include Romania’s Transgaz, the Balkan Gas Hub of Bulgaria and the Hellenic Energy Exchange.

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