Greece and Bulgaria inaugurated this Friday in the Greek city of Kotomini the IGB gas pipeline that will supply up to 3,000 million cubic metres of natural gas from Azerbaijan to Europe, with the possibility of increasing the amount to 5,000 million.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis stressed the importance of a project that will serve as a "decisive energy bridge" between southern and northern Europe.
Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said the interconnector would "change the map of the region" and "put an end to the Russian monopoly" on gas.
The 182-kilometre-long pipeline will begin operating at the end of the month and will connect Komotini with the Bulgarian city of Satara Zagora.
The launch of this project is particularly important at a time when Europe is trying to become independent of Russian gas, and the interconnector will allow Azeri gas to be supplied to Europe via the TAP Trans Adriatic Pipeline, which will triple the current capacity.
Mitsotakis said the launch of the IGB will give a "strong impetus" towards achieving Europe's common goal of energy autonomy.
The project positions Greece as a major geopolitical player in the energy sector in southeastern Europe, which aims to increase its international clout through further interconnection plans with Israel, Cyprus and Egypt.
In May, construction began on a floating liquefied natural gas storage plant in the northern Greek port of Alexandropolis, a project supported by the European Union that Serbia and North Macedonia also intend to join.
This new plant is in addition to the existing one at Revithousa, a small island off Athens, and will be able to connect to the IGB pipeline.