A rupture on a gas link between Bulgaria and Greece on Monday is threatening the planned resumption of Russian gas flows via a recently completed subsea pipeline to Turkey.
The link is used to transport gas to Greece that initially arrives in Turkey from the TurkStream line and is then pumped to Bulgaria.
Although Russia's Gazprom and Bulgaria’s pipeline operator Bulgartransgaz have not disclosed the exact export capacity to Greece that has been lost, the interconnector between the two nations has reportedly handled about 9 million cubic metres of gas per day recently.
Gazprom subsidiary Gazprom Export said it "is waiting for Bulgaria to provide information on when repairs on the damaged segment will be completed”. The subsidiary remains “in constant contact with its partners” in Bulgaria, it added.
Bulgartransgaz said only that “all actions required for the urgent repair works and restoration of the gas transport to Greece have been made. Gas network users will be informed in due time of the restoration of gas supply."
The operator said that the rupture on the gas link between the two countries occurred about 200 metres from a pumping station in the village of Kulata. There was no explosion and no reported injuries.
According to local media reports, Bulgartransgaz has decided to bring new pipes to the site of the accident to excavate and replace the whole segment of the pipeline, built in the first half of 1990s.
The accident occurred just hours after Gazprom fully halted gas flows via TurkStream, as per its earlier announcement that the two-line system will be shut for maintenance from 27 July to 10 August.
The accident does not present a substantial risk to the security of gas supplies to Greece as the country continues to import gas via an alternative link with Turkey, while its LNG reserves are high, the Greek Energy Ministry told Reuters.
Similar maintenance works on another subsea gas pipeline between Russia and Turkey, Blue Stream, were announced for between 13 and 29 May.
However, gas deliveries via Blue Stream to Turkey have not resumed since then, with the pipeline standing idle because customers have preferred to buy cheap gas from other suppliers on the spot market.