Bulgarian PM Talks Energy Projects with MPs

Finance | July 16, 2010, Friday // 14:13|  views

PM, Boyko Borisov, accused the opposition in the Parliament of purposely forcing him to answer energy questions the very same they Bulgaria is negotiating gas prices with Russia in order to warn and help the Russians. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency

Bulgaria’s Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, appeared before the Parliament Friday to respond to questions from the opposition regarding the future of several controversial energy projects in the country.

“Right now Energy Minister, Traicho Traikov, is trying to negotiate with the Russians and they are twisting each other’s arms,” the PM said regarding the Friday meeting between Traikov and Russian Energy Minister, Sergey Schmatko, in Bulgaria’s Black Sea capital Varna when answering questions from the former PM, and leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), Sergey Stanishev, and from the former Energy Minister, Petar Dimitrov, also from BSP.

Borisov declined giving information about the exact amount of the gas price reduction Bulgaria will request from the Russia, motivating the refusal with the fact “the Russians are now watching him and his answers could steer the negotiations in the wrong direction.”

Regarding the Russian project in Bulgaria – the oil line Burgas-Alexandroupolis, the Premier pointed out Bulgaria faces steep sanctions if it decides unilaterally to give up on the pipe, reiterating the project is not beneficial for the country and that over mere profits of USD 35 M, the entire ecosystem will be destroyed. Borisov, once again, compared the oil line with the BP petroleum spill that triggered an ecological disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in the US, adding this is why he regards the issue very seriously while awaiting the environmental assessment.

The PM informed that during a classified meeting of the Council of Ministers Thursday, the cabinet had adopted the road map for the Russian gas line “South Stream.”

“As far as South Stream – we always have insisted that there aren’t any major problems with this one – the 17 B cubic meters of gas will flow trough the current pipes of Bulgargaz, which we own 100%, while the remaining volume up to 63 B cubic meters will go trough the new South Stream pipes. Both, the latter and Nabucco have their place in Bulgaria; they don’t clash, and the cabinet supports both,” Borisov explained.

Regarding the project to build a second Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in the Danube town of Belene, the PM stated the issue here is much more complex, but also reiterated earlier comments that European investors must be found, even if they participate with small shares, adding he had agreed on this with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, during a recent phone call. Borisov further said he hopes Serbia will also join in as a partner, but declined to explain what the project’s price of EUR 7 B includes. (The amount was announced by the PM last week during talks with Russia’s Deputy PM, Viktor Zubkov, in Sofia.)

Borisov accused the opposition of purposely forcing him to answer energy questions the very same they Traikov is negotiating gas prices with Russia, pointing out the goal was to make him say in advance what Bulgaria will ask for and this way warn and help the Russians.

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Tags: Boyko Borisov, Nabucco, South stream, Burgas-Alexandroupolis, Belene, NPP, BSP, oppostion, Sergey Stanishev, Traicho Traikov, Sergey Shmatko, Petar Dimitrov


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