Bulgaria and Greece agreed on the construction of a pipeline that will allow Bulgaria to import natural gas from the Caspian Sea region last week.

The Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH) signed an agreement with Greek natural gas monopoly DEPA and Italy’s Edison SpA for the construction of the 160 kilometre pipeline.

The pipeline will  ease Bulgaria’s dependence on Russian gas by allowing it to import 1 billion cubic metres of Azeri gas per year from 2012 through the ITGI pipeline due to carry Caspian gas via Turkey and Greece to Italy.

The costs of extending the IGB pipeline by creating a 160 kilometre link between Komotini in Greece and Stara Zagora in Bulgaria are estimated at euro120 million ($168 million).

Bulgaria’s Energy Holding also agreed with Greece’s gas grid operator DESFA to use the capacity of a Greek liquified natural gas terminal near Athens to import gas.

On Monday, Bulgaria and four other countries agreed to route the Nabucco pipeline across their territories, which will link Europe to gas resources in Central Asia and the Middle East.