Expert Warns Bulgaria Faces Difficult Mid-term Gas ScenarioEnergy | January 12, 2010, Tuesday // 17:13| views
Bulgarian geopolitician Plamen Dimitrov warns that Bulgaria faces a lack of necessary diversification of gas supplies over the next few years. Photo by theodora.com
Despite a drop in gas consumption in 2009, due to the economic crisis, a critical European decrease is unlikely until 2012, according to Bulgarian geopolitician Plamen Dimitrov.
Dimitrov, a member of the board of the Bulgarian Geopolitics Society, has made this prediction at a news conference organized by the History Department of the Union of Scientists in Bulgaria.
Speaking on the topic of Bulgaria's place on the new Eurasian energy map, the scientist noted that it was unrealistic to expect that the Nabucco natural gas pipeline would come onstream before 2016.
This meant, according to him, that Bulgaria would not meantime attain a desirable level of diversification of supplies. The country therefore needed to ensure that inter-system links with Greece and Romania were built more quickly.
The EU had promised partial funding of these links, he noted, adding that other new shareholders, apart from Bulgaria, Russia and Greece, should be attracted to the Bourgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline project.
The entity most affected by the reduction of natural gas consumption, Dimitrov said, is Russian supplier Gazprom. He noted that the company's natural gas exports to European countries had decreased significantly, but that supplies to the Russian domestic market had declined even more dramatically.
Almost two-thirds of Gazprom's output is sold inside Russia, he stated. The Russian market would recover more slowly than the rest of Europe, so that in the following few years Gazprom's problem would be, not to extract enough gas for its customers, but to find enough customers for the extracted gas.
Speaking of difficulties elsewhere, Dimitrov said that tensions between Russia and Ukraine about natural gas supplies remain, and that these were not dependent on short-term political change in Ukraine.
"It is a delusion to believe that the tension will vanish or decrease if a pro-Russian candidate wins this month's elections in Ukraine. This is a structural problem that will exist for a long time, and the threat of irregular natural gas supplies will remain," Dimitrov concluded.
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