SOFIA, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- The construction of a gas interconnector between Bulgaria and Serbia started on Bulgarian territory on Wednesday in a bid to diversify gas supplies in the region.
The total length of the gas pipeline is 170 kilometers, of which about 62 kilometers on Bulgarian territory, and the designed capacity is up to 1.8 billion cubic meters per year.
With the implementation of the pipeline, Bulgaria would gain expanded access to European markets, and Serbia would gain access to new sources of gas, Bulgaria's President Rumen Radev said at the launch ceremony.
Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic, who also attended the event, said that the project was of great importance not only for the two countries, but also for the whole region.
The beginning of the works on the interconnector "marks another critical milestone in the region's pathway toward diversification of sources and routes," EU Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson said in a video message. "It is now crucial that both governments and operators closely cooperate to ensure that the pipeline is ready and operational in the 2nd half of 2023."
On Oct. 1 last year, a gas interconnector between Greece and Bulgaria started commercial operation with a designed capacity of up to 3 billion cubic meters per year.