Oil and gas exploration on Bulgarian shelf to start in 2016 – PM

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov has said that oil and gas exploration on the country’s Black Sea shelf was slated to start in February 2016, blaming his predecessor in government for failing to make a better effort to reduce reliance on Russian energy resource imports.

Speaking during a visit to the Black Sea port of Varna at the weekend, Borissov hinted that the public protests that brought down his previous administration in February 2013 had been prompted by the decision to award an offshore exploration licence for the Khan Asparoukh block to a consortium led by French firm Total, which also included Austria’s OMV and Spain’s Repsol.

“If the GERB government had not been toppled, exploration on Khan Asparoukh would have been underway already. One of the first decisions of the [Plamen] Oresharski cabinet was to cancel the tenders for the Teres and Silistar blocks,” Borissov said.

“My problems with the Russians started when I gave the concession to a big consortium of Austrian, French and Spanish firms. The Russians would not find it pleasant if their client was gone,” he said.

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(Photo: veetec/sxc.hu)