Views:3704
bvp

  The US and EU sanctions   Both the EU and the US are contemplating new sanctions following the Cyprus-drilling conflict and the purchase of the S-400. Erdogan seems defiant on both counts and further sanctions seem equally unavoidable.   Turkey’s armed forces have been planning a major offensive in Northern Syria against the US-backed Kurdish Protection Units (YPG), in defiance of US and EU warnings for possible conflict escalation. A sense of urgency has been added to Erdogan’s preparatory works to invade Syria as Britain, France, Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E have responded positively to US calls to send troops to areas held by the YPG.   Russia is tacitly encouraging further cracks in relations with the West by allowing Erdogan a certain range of freedom in Syria, against the

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GAZ 1

  Once Russian gas is dried out in the Ukrainian gas transportation system the country is in trouble. Bulgaria and Poland may come to help, rather than Germany and Brussels.     No one is guilty that on December 31, 2019 the current transit contract between Naftogaz of Ukraine and Gazprom of Russia ends. As the same time two highly controversial bypassing projects will soon become operational – North Stream-2 and Turkish Stream. That will end an era of the decades long Ukrainian gas transportation business of approximately 90 bcm per year from Russia to Europe and Turkey. Taking into account the hurdles the notorious North Stream-2 is facing the physical transit may not end completely but commencing on January 1, 2020 there will be no more long-term commitments on

This entry was posted in Bulgaria, Europe, The Region and tagged , , , , by Sergiy Korsunsky.

About Sergiy Korsunsky

Director of the Hennadii Udovenko Diplomatic Academy of Ukraine since October 2017. Dr. Sergiy Korsunsky served as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to the Republic of Turkey in 2008-2016. Prior to that for three years he served as Director-General of the Economic Department, Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Minister-Counselor and Acting Ambassador at the Embassy of Ukraine in the USA fin 2000-2005. Ambassador Korsunsky has extensive professional experience in strategic planning and development, including energy, trade and investment policy, regional security. He is a well known expert on geopolitics of energy. Dr. Korsunsky authored more than 200 publications, including 10 books. In 2008 he was awarded by the President of Ukraine for his economic achievements.
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transbalkan1

  Let us state the publicly known facts and try to assess the business merits of the deal. Bit by bit, slowly and systematically, so that even non-experts can understand.   We have a standing valid gas transit contract between Gazexport and Bulgartransgaz, using the current Trans-Balkan Pipeline, until 2030 with “secure” revenues of $ 1.2 billion. This is not the total contract amount, just the ‘ship or pay’ segment, accrued until the end of the contract. This is regardless of whether Gazprom decides to end transit through Ukraine, to take up alternative routes through Turkey, Germany or the North Pole. Cash in hand. Or almost.   Giving up on these receivables is a condition sine qua non, set by Gazprom, if we want to enter into the new venture

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gaz1

  As alluded to in previous analyses, there is a very diverse and intriguing picture behind the official results of the tender for engineering, procurement and construction of the Bulgarian section of Turkish Stream. A deeper look into the  tender procedures would offer ample ground to reason that so far it has defied European standards for project development and management, being closer to the model Gazprom uses along the entire South Stream chain of projects from Anapa on the Russian Black Sea to the Baumgarten Hub.   The original idea of engaging a Saudi company rests on the premise that, as a strategic ally of the United States, a company from the Saudi Kingdom could potentially “shield” Gazprom’s operation from Western and US sanctions.   One can hardly anticipate that

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russia europa

  My favorite Russian diplomat is Ambassador Chizhov. He tops my rankings as the most outspoken Russian diplomat on a range of hot topics in EU-Russia relations. He is entrusted by the Kremlin to challenge the EU on its home turf each and every time the European Council, the European Commission or the European Parliament passes a motion that affects Moscow’s interests. One clear mark of President Putin’s personal trust in him is the fact that Vladimir Chizhov is spending his record 14th year in office as Russia’s Permanent Representative to the European Union.   He did not waste time in reassuring Russians and Russia’s friends and partners that the amendments to the EU Gas Directive passed by the European Parliament on April 4th, amending key regulations for gas pipelines

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gasprom-bulgargaz

  Bulgartransgaz has been noticeably absent from the public debate around the fate of South Stream-turned-TurkStream-turned-Balkan Stream, a project than can be summed up with the lone common denominator, ‘Borissov’ Stream.   Consider the arguments. We are told that the TSO, Bulgartransgaz, is facing an existential threat – bound to lose money as Gazexport dries up transit via Ukraine and consequently via Bulgaria. That is a valid argument insofar as there is no alternative or plan B, and the threat is imminent, credible and verifiable – i.e. gas transit cancellation via Ukraine is a given. Yet both hypotheses are speculative in varying degrees.   Since January 21, 2019, Gazprom and Naftogaz have been negotiating, with the help of the European Commission, a new ten-year gas transit contract through Ukraine. The

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borissov

  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

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WB Summit 1

  The ratification of the Macedonia name deal between Athens and Skopje on Friday capped a year in which the West renewed its focus on integrating the Western Balkans into the Euro-Atlantic community.   Bulgaria factored into the renewed push to integrate the region into NATO and the EU because Sofia made Western Balkan integration a focal point of its European Council presidency that spanned the first half of 2018. Sofia capped its EU presidency by hosting the EU-Western Balkans summit last May. The summit was a high-level gathering of EU and Western Balkan leaders, the first of its kind in 15 years.   Now that 2018 is complete and the Macedonia name dispute has been settled, one can have a clearer look at the fruits of Bulgaria’s push to

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Pipeline

  The cuts to transit tariffs for use of the Ukrainian gas transmission network, which were announced during the final days of 2018, are a major event that was undeservedly kept out of the media spotlight.   The reductions of nearly 50% are simply a downward correction but send a message.   Here are some corners in the analysis.   The first suspected casualty would be the revenue projections for the Ukraine circumvention projects. Their business logic has been substantially compromised, while the key argument Merkel and Putin continue to use is that the Nord Stream is “just business.” The direct costs of Nord Stream-2 so far are below $10 billion and, accounting for the extra funds spent on gas fields and infrastructure development on Russian territory, the bill skyrockets