The European Commission approved on Tuesday, in accordance with the EU rules on state aid, a measure adopted by Bulgaria through which it will invest 16 million euro for the expansion of the Chiren gas storage of the Bulgartransgaz company, informs BTA.
Bulgartransgaz will invest approximately 285 million euros to expand the storage capacity of the Chiren underground gas storage facility, which is the only natural gas storage facility in Bulgaria. The storage capacity would increase from 550 million cubic meters to one billion cubic meters. Also, the capacity to withdraw and supply natural gas to the network will be increased, according to Agerpres.
Bulgaria notified the European Commission that it intends to support the Bulgartransgaz investment with a nine-year public guarantee granted for the loan to finance the measure, with a value of 16 million euros. The objective is to ensure the security of gas supply, to increase competition on the gas market, including through greater integration of the Chiren gas storage in the network, as well as to promote gas transactions in the region.
The expansion of the storage capacity of the underground gas storage at Chiren is a Project of Common Interest included in the fifth list of projects of this type. The objective of projects of common interest is to complete Europe’s internal energy market and help the EU achieve its energy and climate goals.
The Commission assessed the measure under EU State aid rules, in particular Article 107(3)(c) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which allows State aid to facilitate the development of certain economic activities or certain regions economic. The community executive concluded that the measure is necessary and appropriate to facilitate Bulgartransgaz’s investment in its gas storage facility. The Commission also concluded that the measure is also proportionate, as the aid will be limited to the minimum necessary to guarantee the investment in the facility and that it will not have negative effects on EU competition. Given these considerations, the Commission approved the measure under EU state aid rules.