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Бурмистрова и Медведев

  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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gaz

Sorry, this entry is only available in Bulgarian.

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repin_1

  “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

This entry was posted in No category, Europe, The Region and tagged , , , , , , by Mikhail Korchemkin.

About Mikhail Korchemkin

Dr. Mikhail Korchemkin is the founder and managing director of East European Gas Analysis, a consulting company that specializes in cost-benefit and financial analysis of natural gas projects in the former Soviet Union. His previous experience includes performing numerous feasibility studies for the USSR Gas Ministry, predecessor of Gazprom. Prior to going into full-time consulting Mikhail taught at the University of Pennsylvania. He has also had visiting scholarships at Harvard University and Erasmus University in Rotterdam. Mikhail has consulted numerous corporate and governmental clients including ABN-AMRO Bank, Amoco, BP, British Gas, Chevron, Conoco, Ernst & Young, ExxonMobil, Gas Strategies, Gasunie, Neste Oy, Osaka Gas, OTA of the U.S. Congress, Ruhrgas, Shell, Statoil , Swedegas, Total, Vattenfall and The World Bank. He has acted as expert witness in arbitration cases concerning natural gas business in Russia and Eastern Europe.
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interview1

  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

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gazoprovod

  The Russian government can do little to undermine the competitiveness of alternative supplies along the Southern Gas Corridor. Moreover, the suppliers’ list is rapidly expanding with new gas fields in the Azeri offshore of the Caspian (Absheron and Shah Deniz 3), Turkmenistan (swaps already under way via Iran with Azerbaijan), Iran, Northern Iraq and the Eastern Mediterranean. All this clearly alludes to the feasibility of alternative gas exports via Greece and Bulgaria to the rest of the EU. Gazprom’s nightmares are just starting to mature as soaring production and transportation costs within Russia do not leave much room for further cost-cutting.   Militarizing the Caspian Sea   To block the development and export of Caspian gas, including via the Trans-Caspian pipeline, Moscow decided to relocate its flotilla from Astrakhan

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Source: icgb.eu

  Shortly after President Aliev inaugurated the first phase of the Southern Gas Corridor and announced the opening of the TANAP pipeline on June 12th, Russia beefed up its wartime machine to block competition to its gas supplies in Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria. The timing of the agreement between the Turkish government and Gazprom on the onshore segment of Turkish Stream matched to the day the news from Azerbaijan. Ostensibly, this a legitimate defense of Gazprom’s market shares, having already lost substantial chunks in the diversified market of Turkey and Greece – where it accounts for 50-60% of the gas imports.   When the periscope moves on to Bulgaria – the bounty is a complete and seemingly durable monopoly. Yet, even in this small market, the Russian state company has

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gasprom

  Margrethe Vestager, the EU Commissioner for Competition, made a long-awaited announcement May 24th, outlining the final decision on the anti-trust investigation against Gazprom. The media headlines picked different angles, some cheered the move for defending CEE customers, others pointed to a more pessimistic and pragmatic read – no fine for Gazprom. The press release alluded to the main achievement in the eye of the watchdog – the Russian gas giant had finally agreed to play ball. At a closer look, feelings are mixed and certainly a far cry from unqualified praise for the DG COMP’s work as the expectations in the CEE countries that Gazprom will be disciplined and punished for abusing its monopoly status were naturally greater.   The decision would undoubtedly raise eyebrows, when compared with a

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putin-gotce1

  The System Spill over   By proximity, Bulgaria mirrors Russian autocratic tendencies, including mimicking the state oligarchy model. Unlike Russia, however, the Bulgarian version can’t be sustained on “natural” resources – oil, gas, nuclear fuel-based wealth. Redistribution can be effectuated on added value and GDP growth, or thereafter on the budget accumulated taxed economic output. Bulgaria’s autocracy has limited margins for self-propelled growth and wealth sharing, which implies greater reliance on grand corruption mechanisms.   The Kremlin’s GDP sustains its dynamics even on holidays as the oil and gas industry turns round the clock. Bulgarian GDP, however, must be generated and incomes earned.   In Russia, the population exhibits extreme patience, willing to accept sacrifice in the name of “stability” (note the overlay in the jargon of the ruling

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gaz

  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

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hub balkan1

    Quod licet Jovi, non licet bovi.   The Balkan gas hub has become synonymous and in many ways a substitute for Bulgaria’s energy policy in the field of natural gas. In order to avoid speculating about the concept’s different variations, hereinafter is the official project draft, as presented by the national TSO, Bulgartransgaz, with a price tag above USD 2 billion.   Although this might not be the latest update, as it does not fully accommodate developments from Turkish Stream, the map is a fine departure point for an analytical exercise, explicitly demonstrating the virtues and the shortcomings in the conceptual design and implementation phase.     The key question is – what does Bulgaria strive to achieve?   To begin with, the country’s energy policies should not