Bulgarian President to Propose New Gas Transit Routes to Qatari Emir

Diplomacy | March 11, 2014, Tuesday // 10:02|  views

Bulgaria's President Rosen Plevneliev. Photo by BGNES

Rosen Plevneliev, President of Bulgaria, is set to propose the construction of a south-to-north gas corridor while meeting Qatar's Emir on Tuesday.

Through Greek ports, Bulgaria could receive liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Qatar and become a gas distribution center for the whole European continent, Plevneliev was quoted by website Dariknews.bg as saying.

He made the comments hours before his talks with Sheikh Tamam bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Emir of the State of Qatar, while on a visit to the country's capital Doha.

Bulgarian President believes a south-to-north transportation route could successfully replace the existing pipeline system, which leads energy from the east to the west. LNG could thus make its way to Romania, the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, and even to Baltic states.

Qatar, which is the world's largest LNG exporter, also possesses the biggest gas reserves. Plevneliev headed for Qatar on Monday to seek the attraction of business investments from the country, which despite its small size has attained considerable economic influence through its natural resources.

The President explained his decision to propose new gas corridors hinting at the current geopolitical environment and its unpredictability, citing the 2008-2009 gas pricing disputes between Russia and Ukraine, which resulted in disruption of supplies across Europe.

Negative developments that could follow the current standoff involving Russia in the Ukrainian region of Crimea has led over the last few weeks to speculations about a possible second gas crisis and worst case scenarios regarding energy supplies in Central and Eastern Europe. Throughout the EU, politicians consider all options to prevent what might constitute a threat to national security if the gas that is being poured through Ukraine comes to a halt.

The President expressed his belief that overcoming energy dependence might attract foreign investment to Bulgaria.

Ahead of his meeting with the Emir, Plevleniev also announced that Bulgaria is to offer Qatar its experience in energy efficiency and food production.

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Tags: Rosen Plevneliev, president, Qatar, Sheikh Tamam bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, LNG, liquefied natural gas, Russia, Ukraine


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