Bulgarian Experts to Set Up Movement for Energy Independence

Energy | February 14, 2012, Tuesday // 15:42|  views

A Movement for Energy Independence (DEN) will be established next week, the organizers of the initiative announced Tuesday at a press conference.

Tuesday's event was attended by Ivan Sotirov, Hristo Kazandzhiev, Evgeny Mihaylov, Alexander Alexiev, Krasimir Momchev, Dimitar Ivanov, Vassil Filipov and Ivan Hinovski, who expressed indignation at the progressive deterioration of the quality of life of Bulgarian citizens.

"We ate being governed by people who elbow their way into power only to get involved into a variety of kleptomanic schemes that benefit certain parties, while the Bulgarian society keeps getting poorer and poorer," DEN's founders stated.

"When it comes to the past, we know what they did. The renunciation of a gas supply contract by then-Energy Minister Rumen Ovcharov incurred damaged worth billions of dollars to Bulgaria. The current government is also doing nothing to ensure that Bulgaria provides normal living conditions," the organizers of the new movement claimed.

They went on to explain that the GERB Cabinet had not adopted any of a series of proposed measures.

As an example they cited a project for the construction of a gas grid interconnection between Turkey and Bulgaria which had dragged on for two years despite the fact that the US government had guaranteed the funding.

The organizers of the press conference insisted that the Bulgarian government had shifted its focus to the South Stream gas pipeline project which was of questionable benefit for Bulgaria and whose implementation remained uncertain.

They drew attention to the fact that no projects were being developed south of Turkey, although the region could be a source of gas supplies at reasonable prices.

"The government has so far done nothing to achieve this independence. Everything that is being done is being done in offices, including road maps, memorandums, etc. This government must spare the time to account for its activities. What is more, the Prime Minister must explain on whose recommendations he appointed these senior officials at the Energy Ministry. Energy independence, therefore Bulgaria's national independence, is in our hands," DEN's founders argued.

The experts further condemned the Belene NPP project, saying that it had been delayed by some 10 years.

"It is important to us that a decision is taken for the immediate suspension of spending on this project and the funds are reallocated to Unit 7 of the Kozloduy NPP," DEN representatives declared, adding that Bulgaria could not afford to run up a debt of EUR 4 B debt due to the financial crisis and the fact that contracting external debt was subject to careful scrutiny.

The experts from DEN called for stepping up output from domestic resources.

They listed a number of projects they said had been neglected, including the use of the Danube hydro-potential, the proposal for the construction of a new capacity at the Maritsa Iztok TPP, shale gas exploration, energy projects in Galata, Silistar, the Dobrudja coal basin, as well as six tenders for oil and gas drilling.

DEN's founders criticized the government's decision to ban shale gas exploration, adding that the technology could have helped to significantly reduce Bulgaria's energy expenses.

Insisting that Russia's Gazprom had manipulated Bulgaria into imposing the ban on shale gas development through hydraulic fracturing, the experts noted that Bulgaria was "an absolute champion" in terms of high gas prices.

DEN's representatives were adamant that Bulgaria's current situation was the result of a systemic policy for restricting the development of local energy sources, thereby eroding the country's freedom and independent decision making.

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Tags: energy independence, Movement for Energy Independence, shale gas, gas grid interconnection, gas supplies, GERB government, Rumen Ovcharov, Gazprom


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