The European Commission’s communication ‘Energy infrastructure priorities for 2020 and beyond — A Blueprint for an integrated European energy network’ (COM(2010) 677 final of 17 November 2010) calls for the need for more "flexible supply, including liquefied (LNG) and compressed natural gas (CNG)."

In order to achieve this and other objectives, priority corridors including the North-South Corridor in Central Eastern and South-East Europe (Linking the Baltic, Black, Adriatic and Aegean Seas) or the North-South Corridor in Western Europe (helping to remove internal bottlenecks and increase short-term deliverability via optimising the existing infrastructure, notably existing LNG plants and storage facilities) have have been identified.

Now in February the European Commission approved the set up of the North-South natural gas corridor. EC president José Manuel Barroso and the leaders of six EU member states in Eastern Europe, including Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania, have agreed to set the start of this new initiative, whose strategic concept is to link the energy systems in the area located among the Baltic Sea in the North, the Adriatic in the Southwest and the Black Sea in the Southeast.


                              EU Commission president José Manuel Barroso

Aiming to guarantee the fuel transport and energy independence in the region, the North-South corridor will focus on natural gas transit and interconnections and will cover the six mentioned eastern countries and possibly Austria. In the longer term, the EC foresees an extension of this integration process to non-EU signatories in the Energy Community Treaty (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo).

A declaration signed in February 2010 expresses those countries' joint support for North-South interconnections. The projects involve Croatian and Polish LNG terminals, the Constanta LNG terminal in Romania and other liquefied natural gas and CNG ventures in the wider Black Sea region.

As Sofia News Agency reported, the project is supposed to be formally approved by the European Union by the end of 2011, and to be able to rely on getting EU funding. It is worth adding that its realization will practically make the region of Central and Eastern Europe less vulnerable to a supply cut through the Russia/Ukraine/Belarus route.
Source: EU Commission & NGV Communications Group

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