Bulgarian court rules to back regulator on gas grid capacity expansion contract

Bulgaria’s Supreme Administrative Court has ruled against the appeal by the country’s gas grid operation Bulgartransgaz, which sought to overturn the competition regulator’s decision to re-instate Saudi Arabian Arkad Engineering as the winner in the tender to design and build the expansion of Bulgaria’s domestic gas infrastructure, needed in order for the country to handle the transiting gas from the Turkish Stream pipeline.

The court said, in a decision dated July 11, that Bulgartransgaz’s arguments were insufficient to rescind the Commission for Protection of Competition’s (CPC) ruling.

Earlier this month, the regulator blocked the company’s decision to drop Arkad Engineering as the contractor, in favour of the second-placed bidder in the tender – a consortium including Italy’s Bonatti, the Italian subsidiary of German firm Max Streicher and Luxembourg-registered Completions Development Sàrl, which Bulgarian media linked to Russian pipe manufacturer TMK.

In June, Bulgartransgaz said that the Saudi firm did not provide all the paperwork required by law, despite several postponements, and sought changes to the draft contract, which would have breached the terms of the public tender.

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(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)