Bulgarian President optimistic on country’s future in gas supply

Bulgaria’s projects on gas supply inter-connectors with Greece and Turkey should be seen as an integral part of the Southern Gas Corridor and, along with upcoming enlargement of gas storage facilities, would put Bulgaria in place to be the preferred centre of gas supplies in South Eastern Europe, according to President Rossen Plevneliev.

Plevneliev was speaking on September 20 2014 in Azerbaijan, where he attended a ceremony marking the beginning of the construction of the Southern Gas Corridor.

Bulgaria was fully committed to building gas interconnectors with Turkey, Greece, Romania and Serbia as fast as possible, Plevneliev said.

Bulgaria’s head of state was speaking against a background of continuing concerns about European gas dependency on Russia, with potential problems exacerbated over tensions over Moscow’s illegal actions in Ukraine and EU responses to them.

Already, in recent days, there have been gas supply problems in an apparent response by Moscow to EU sanctions against it over Ukraine.

Bulgaria was among countries seriously affected by gas supply problems amid a dispute between Russia and Ukraine in early 2009. On September 17 2014, Bulgarian caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva said that the country was preparing contingency plans for gas supply problems this coming winter, described as a “high-probability scenario”.

Meanwhile, on September 20, the gas companies of Bulgaria and Azerbaijan signed two two documents which, according to Bulgaria’s Economy and Energy Ministry, enhance security and diversify gas supplies to Bulgaria and South Eastern Europe.

According to a report by Bulgarian news agency BTA, Bulgarian gas company Bulgartransgaz and SOCAR of Azerbaijan signed a memorandum of understanding on exploring the opportunities for co-operation in the project for development of Bulgaria’s Chiren gas storage facility.

A letter of intent was signed between SOCAR and Bulgargaz on negotiations on exploring the opportunities for starting early gas delivery to Bulgaria by SOCAR in 2017 through the
Bulgaria-Greece gas interconnector. Opportunities will also be sought for bringing natural gas from Azerbaijan to Bulgaria through Turkey.

According to Bulgaria’s Economy and Energy Ministry, the implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor projects, including the extension of the South Caucasus Pipeline and the construction of the TANAP and TAP gas pipelines, and the Bulgaria-Greece interconnector, will provide the route for the contracted alternative supplies of a billion cu m of gas a year from Azerbaijan to Bulgaria beginning in 2019.

(Photo: Robert Linder/sxc.hu)



The Sofia Globe staff

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