Cooperation for the Vertical Corridor is strengthened: signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for the participation of Slovakia, Moldova, and Ukraine
The Memorandum of Understanding signed in the framework of the CESEC Ministerial Conference strengthens the security of supply of Central and South-Eastern Europe
Athens – An important step towards the security of supply for Central, Southeastern Europe, Moldova and Ukraine was taken on Friday, January 19, 2024, by the natural gas infrastructure Operators participating in the Vertical Corridor initiative, with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the inclusion of Slovakia (EUStream), Moldova (Vestmoldtransgaz) and Ukraine (GTSOU) in the initiative. The MoU was signed on the sidelines of the Ministerial meeting of the High Level Group on Central and South Eastern Europe Energy Connectivity (CESEC) held in Athens.
This MoU seals the intensive cooperation developed by gas and LNG transmission system operators from Greece, such as DESFA and Gastrade, Bulgaria (ICGB, Bulgartransgaz), Romania (Transgaz), Hungary (FGSZ) and Slovakia (EUStream), following the meeting organized at the initiative of DESFA last September in Thessaloniki.
The contribution of the LNG Terminal in Alexandroupolis
The full activation of the Vertical Corridor, through the appropriate upgrading of the networks of the above countries, will allow the transport of gas from the South to North and vice versa, through European natural gas and LNG transmission systems, leveraging the enhanced capabilities of Gastrade’s new LNG Terminal in Alexandroupolis which is expected to reach Commercial Operations soon. This potential can be further extended by the use of said infrastructures for renewable gases and hydrogen.
The Operators signing the MoU express their commitment to promote PCI and other necessary projects, jointly or individually, for the activation of the Vertical Corridor, underlining at the same time their intention to support each other in securing funding from European and other funding sources for these projects. They also agree to seek, where appropriate, the facilitation and guidance of the European Commission.
K.Sifnaios, Managing Director of Gastrade, notes in this regard:
“The signing of the MoU today to include the Transmission System Operators of Slovakia, Moldova, and Ukraine is a significant step in the direction to continue strengthening the energy security of Central and Southeast Europe. Gastrade’s Project, the LNG Terminal in Alexandroupolis, the first FSRU in Greece which will be operational in the next weeks, is a gateway for LNG and natural gas transmission through the Vertical Corridor. Gastrade is committed to supporting this strategy of diversification and independence of energy sources and transport routes from the historical monopolies. In this effort, we welcome Slovakia, Moldova, and Ukraine with great anticipation.”
The next steps
As for the next steps, the participants prioritize their coordination, according to market-based solutions and European legislation, as the best way forward. In this context, they agree to carry out simultaneously, in July 2024, one year earlier than the foreseen schedule, a binding market test for capacity allocation at their respective interconnection points, according to the CAM Regulation (EU) of the European Commission. Then, based on user interest, they will identify and size the most appropriate and targeted capacity expansion projects needed to meet demand along the Vertical Corridor route.