November 8, 2018 / 10:57 AM / 12 days ago

EU clears state aid for Greek, Bulgaria natural gas interconnector

BRUSSELS, Nov 8 (Reuters) - EU competition regulators approved on Thursday a plan by Greece and Bulgaria to build and operate a natural gas interconnector between the two countries with public funds.

The European Commission said the 240-million-euro ($274 million) project, which will transport 3 billion cubic meters annually of natural gas from Greece to Bulgaria by 2021, will boost the bloc’s goal of diversifying its energy supplies.

Public support includes a 110-million-euro loan from the European Investment Bank to Bulgarian gas incumbent BEH which will be covered by an unconditional state guarantee, 39 million euros from Bulgaria and a fixed corporate tax regime valid for 25 years for the interconnector’s owners.

The interconnector will be owned by ICGB AD, a joint venture between the IGI Poseidon consortium and BEH. The consortium is made up of Italian company Edison and Greek gas incumbent DEPA.

$1 = 0.8758 euros Reporting by Foo Yun Chee

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