Electricity price hiccups over the last two months seemed timely to attest the required price assumptions for the financial model of the Belene NPP. These days, prices have returned to normal levels, but the idea of higher electricity prices, at par with revenue projections, gained some ground – ostensibly the free market at work. There is a lot in common between the procedural patterns behind the Belene NPP and the Balkan Gas Hub. Most of the activities only nominally happen in the open – formal tender procedure, the rite observed, the end – terms agreed in advance. There is no true competition, no market interplay, no real public scrutiny, just political expediency. Summarizing the main features of the applied policy line in pursuit of a lighter version
The first non-binding phase of the market test for the capacities of the floating LNG terminal in Alexandroupolis has generated unexpectedly high demand – more than 12 billion cubic meters in bids, which is more than double the FNLG’s planned capacity of 5.5 billion cubic meters. Twenty companies submitted intent to book capacity. In the next binding phase, the digits for capacity take-up will fall significantly, yet the message from the LNG gas market could not be more unequivocal – gas traders trust they can offer competitive prices for natural gas and gain market share in Southeast and Central Europe. In other words, they are confident that gas from the global LNG market can compete with Gazprom’s pipeline gas for the cash of customers. Another important deduced
Bulgartransgaz has recently been informed by its largest customer, Gazexport, that after 2020 it will terminate the transit of Russian gas through Ukraine, and thereby, through the Trans-Balkan gas pipeline to Turkey, Greece and Macedonia. It is still unclear whether the notification qualifies under contractual terms as legal notice served, requiring a new contract for any further arrangement, or whether it should be interpreted as advance notice for a shift of delivery point, with future gas deliveries coming via the Turkish Stream-2 pipeline. As for the quantities for use in Bulgaria itself, Bulgargas would not have a major problem, provided it can add additional delivery points in Slovakia and elsewhere. In total, the transited annual volumes over the last 12 years have varied around 16-17 billion cubic
The speculative interpretations on the secretive nature of the trip of Gazexport’s top managers to Sofia last Friday, beyond doubt, will build up due to the total absence of facts and details. This is an inevitable consequence as one compares the media frenzy around the visits of the top brass at Gazprom to the country on previous occasions. To begin with, the decision to keep the meetings with Bulgartransgaz secretive reflects the content and the range of topics covered. The classic is: both sides need to agree to keep the exchange out of the public record. Gazprom and BTG, as hosts, have no interest in disclosing details, as the negotiations cover a very sensitive topic – the extension of Turkish Stream through Bulgaria. Two events have marred the
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19.9.2018, ICIS, Aura Sabadus Bulgarian gas incumbent Bulgargaz has failed to clinch more attractive terms from its supplier Gazprom despite a recent EU anti-trust investigation, a former Bulgarian ambassador to Russia told ICIS in an interview. The investigation would have provided Bulgargaz significant support in its negotiations with the Russian producer. Speaking to ICIS this week, Ilian Vassilev, said Bulgargaz could have requested price reviews and more lenient terms linked to take-or-pay as part of a long-term 3 billion cubic metre/year supply contract with Gazprom. But, instead, Bulgargaz was acting as an “extension” of the Russian producer, passively ac- cepting existing terms, Vassilev said. Vassilev, who is currently managing partner at eastern European advisory firm Innovative Energy Solutions, said the incumbent had not asked
Since mid-August, the ritual of communicating the bad news of the imminent natural gas price hike has been in motion. It is now a matter of time before politicians and parties join the chorus and contribute to the drum beat. Energy being everyone’s domain, the chorus draws across government-opposition and party fault lines. Quite often the battle for domination and redistribution of power within the energy sector rages within the GERB and BSP parties – survival of the fittest rules in which the weakest link short-circuits and leaves the scene. The scenario in a nutshell is the hot potato – the responsibility for the gas price increase, which is expected to be in the range of 15%, will ultimately be attributed not to the main culprits – Gazprom
There is nothing kept secret that will not come to light. reads the Bible. While in Moscow, Borisov and Putin agreed that Bulgaria should oppose the granting of extended powers to the European Commission to represent the Union in the legal and regulatory battle over the new infrastructure projects of Gazprom – Nord Stream -2 and the extension of Turkish Stream on EU territory. The Bulgarian media overflow with superfluous analogies made to accommodate the political expediency of politicians betting on the Turkish and Nord Streams. Germany claims to have been trying to justify engagement with Nord Stream – 2 on business grounds. The analogy goes that Sofia could join in Germany’s brokerage gas affair with Russia – a sheer fallacy, typical for politicians that defy market gravity, believing in the omnipotence of politician’s
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The need to move beyond the Balkan Gas Hub “Russia-only” or “Russia-mainly” paradigm seems indispensable if the ‘hub’ project – in the broad sense – has any chance. The talk of billions of cubic meters of natural gas from non-Russian sources deserves a serious look to the north, but mostly to the south – The Southern Gas Corridor. Yet what seems logical to everyone, does not inspire the management of the TSO of the Bulgarian gas system. The fact that none of these routes – TANAP, TAP or the Greek-Bulgaria Interconnector – contain specific numbers for potential gas flows makes things seem pre-ordained. The BGH essentially seems to be conceived as a redistribution center for Russian gas. The likelihood of non-Russian gas emerging both at the