Bulgaria signs gas grid capacity expansion contract with Saudi firm Arkad

Bulgaria’s gas grid operator Bulgartransgaz said on September 18 that it has signed a contract 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, with Saudi Arabian Arkad Engineering.

The 1.1 billion euro contract envisions construction being carried out in two stages – a 308km section of the pipeline has to be completed in 250 days, and a further 166km within 615 days, which would put the project’s completion deadline at end-May 2021.

Bulgartransgaz said that the signing of the contract was made possible by the Supreme Administrative Court ruling on September 16 to dismiss the appeal against the public tender decision to award the contract. Bulgartransgaz picked Arkad as the contractor in April.

The company did not say, however, that it was its own decision to change the contractor, made in May, from Arkad to the second-placed consortium, arguing that it was unable to sign a contract because the Saudi firm did not provide all the paperwork required by law. It said that the other bidder offered a discount on the price it originally offered.

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(The contract was signed with Prime Minister Boiko Borissov, second right, in attendance. Photo: Bulgartransgaz)