Bulgarian officials and analysts have sought to downplay any fears that the ongoing stand-off in Ukraine may lead to interruptions in gas supplies, saying that Bulgaria had sufficient reserves to last at least two months.
As one of the countries in south-eastern Europe that relies the most on Russian energy imports, Bulgaria was among those hit the worst by the supply disruptions caused by the gas price disagreements between Moscow and Kyiv in 2006 and 2009.
The gas crisis in January 2009 proved the more painful, as it coincided with a bitter cold spell and caught most heating utilities in the country by surprise. Since then, Bulgarian regulations require heating utilities to keep enough gas stocks to last at least two weeks and can also switch to other fuels if required.
Heating, however, is not such a pressing concern this time around, with one of the mildest winters on record already winding down.
Bulgaria’s Economy Minister Dragomir Stoynev said earlier this week that the country’s gas storage facility in Chiren still had 200 million cubic metres of gas, enough to satisfy domestic consumption for two months.
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(Photo: Jayesh Nair)