South Stream 'Important to Bulgaria as Gas Transit Route' - EconMinBusiness | September 5, 2014, Friday // 12:18| views
Interim Economy Minister Vasil Shtonov. Photo by BGNES
The South Stream pipeline will be more important in terms of gas transportation than of supplies to Bulgaria, caretaker Economy Minister Vasil Shtonov made clear.
In an interview with public broadcaster BNT he explained that it would be gas transit taxes that would bring more profit to Bulgaria, "even though [through the project] we are, of course, undergoing diversification."
The minister reminded that, out of 63 billion cubic meters of gas projected to be pumped through South Stream's pipes on a yearly basis, just 1 bcm is to be delivered to the country.
He was confident that both the Chiren gas depot and the reverse-flow interconnection with Greece could be of much use to Bulgaria in case of a major crisis this winter, with the later capable of delivering 1.5 to 3 bcm of gas every day.
Shtonov also commented on his recently announced calls for a hike of electricity prices, adding there was a "possibility" such a step could be taken once in three months.
He reiterated his position that prices had to go up to make up for the BGN 1.5 B deficit within Bulgaria's energy system.
"A smooth increase... gives some time for the entire system to prepare and also gives an opportunity to authorities to implement the other necessary measures," he elaborated in defense of the gradual hike he had earlier proposed.
Shtonov also vowed the state would seek to protect the "energy needy", voicing his support for a likely solution involving the introduction of "two-tier" bills as a measure to help lower-income people.
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