The consequences of the choices the Bulgarian government makes on the scale and direction of the infrastructure upgrade to accommodate future flows it intends to service will be long-term. The issue at stake is whether the country will become a fully integrated member of the EU gas market, implementing key elements of the EU’s gas strategy and North-South – the Baltic to the Aegean Sea – interconnectedness, or replay the old adage of acting as proxy to Gazprom gas in the EU. The crisis in the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait, among other alerts and triggers, echoes a repetitive soundbite in Russian foreign policy – Ukraine should not be trusted as a transit country, thereby Russia’s circumvention ‘streams’ serve the EU’s best interest. There is little doubt
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
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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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The fate of two key elements of Russia’s energy ‘streams’ strategy – the Nord and Turkish streams – will be decided this fall. The Damocles sword is hovering above both, and at any moment the U.S. government could impose sanctions that would immediately terminate both projects. Although such a scenario is probable, it is by no means certain. President Trump remained deliberately vague on the imminence of the sanctions during his recent press conference at the White House with Polish President Duda. US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry recently visited Moscow and, among various topics, discussed the sanctions options with his Russian counterpart as part of a broader, more positive package. Both Nord and Turkish Stream have reached a decisive stage, where action is desperately needed.
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
“We now need to start the construction of this pipeline in the Black Sea, but we cannot do that until we have Bulgaria’s permission”, said Vladimir Putin on December 1, 2014. “I think it’s clear to everyone that it would be ridiculous to start the construction in the sea, reach the Bulgarian shore and stop. So we are forced to reconsider our participation in this project”, continued president of Russia. It is worth noting that uncertainty about the point of entry has not stopped Mr. Putin from launching the construction of the Turkish Stream pipeline. “There are still several questions we need to coordinate: the entry point, the route on Turkish territory and environmental security”, he said to president of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the phone from
Some time ago, I was approached by an established Bulgarian journalist who was trying to broker an interview with a Russian TV crew, ostensibly working for the international program of Rossiya 24 – one of the main Kremlin channels. Having rich, including negative experience with Russian journalists, who often creatively edit recorded content – blending unrelated parts so that the interviewee could easily appear as a retard – or just dump the interview altogether, I refused initially. The last time, a TV crew from Moscow’s city channel, TVTZ, came over to shoot a propaganda slot, portraying Bulgaria as a totally devastated country after it joined the EU and NATO. These crude propaganda shots are meant for home use, aimed at convincing the Russian audience that the former brethren