Greece ratifies IGB pipeline deal, EastMed Gas Forum foundation treaty

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ATHENS, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) -- Greece's Parliament ratified on Tuesday a bill authorizing the construction of the Gas Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB) natural gas pipeline and ratifying the foundation treaty of the EastMed Gas Forum (EMGF), the Greek national news agency AMNA reported.

The bill was supported by the ruling conservative New Democracy party and two opposition parties.

Bulgaria has already ratified the bilateral cooperation agreement on the IGB, which enables the linking of the Greek and Bulgarian natural gas pipeline networks.

The IGB project is already underway. It is 52 percent complete and is expected to be completed by the end of 2021, Minister of Environment and Energy Kostas Skrekas told Parliament, according to AMNA.

The IGB project upgrades the geostrategic position of Greece as the country becomes a gateway for natural gas to the European market from diversified sources, he said.

The new pipeline will be connected to the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which transports natural gas from Azerbaijan to Europe via Greece, as well as with the floating storage and regasification unit offshore Alexandroupolis in northern Greece, he explained.

With Tuesday's vote in the Greek Parliament, the EMGF's charter enters into force as Greece is the fifth country to have ratified the treaty, the Greek Ministry of Environment and Energy noted.

The forum's goal is to ensure the security of energy supply for the wider region at competitive prices, Skrekas told the plenary.

The EastMed Gas Forum is an energy alliance among Greece, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Italy, Jordan and Palestine that was established as an international organization in January 2020.

It will be based in Cairo and will be open to accepting as a member any country that shares the common interests and objectives of the forum, the Greek ministry said in a press statement.

On Jan. 13, the U.S. submitted a request to join the forum as an observer, following the European Commission and the United Arab Emirates, which have also expressed interest in participating as observers, the ministry added. Enditem

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