Four months after Gazprom cut off gas supplies to Bulgaria over Sofia’s refusal to pay for deliveries in roubles, the country’s caretaker Cabinet appears on the verge of giving in to the Russian company’s demands.
“Obviously, we will have to hold negotiations with Gazprom, but those will be very difficult and hard talks,” caretaker Energy Minister Rossen Hristov said on August 22 at news briefing following the sitting of the caretaker Cabinet’s ‘energy crisis’ staff.
Hristov said that Bulgaria has mostly secured gas for the month of October, having agreed a liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipment from US firm Cheniere, which would be unloaded in Turkey.
However, the caretaker Cabinet declined shipments for November and December, with Hristov saying that the cost of securing unloading slots at LNG terminals would make the price of gas too high.
He did not say whether the caretaker Cabinet took the option for the delivery of four LNG cargoes from Cheniere next year.
Similarly, Hristov did not say what the outcome of the LNG tender called by state-owned natural gas company Bulgargaz, in which bids were due last week.
Additionally, he did not say how much gas from Gazprom would cost under the existing price formula, saying only that it would be “several times cheaper.”
Hristov repeatedly blamed the departed Kiril Petkov administration for “doing nothing to solve the crisis”, including an accusation that the previous Cabinet did its “utmost to complicate relations with Gazprom” and left “chaos” with regard to the interconnector pipeline to Greece.
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