Gas Crisis Scenario Is Very Likely - Bulgaria’s Caretaker Energy MinisterEnergy | September 23, 2014, Tuesday // 12:16| views
Vasil Shtonov, caretaker Energy Minister, photo by BGNES
Bulgaria’s caretaker Minister of Economy and Energy Vasil Shtonov has suggested that a new gas crisis is very likely.
Speaking Tuesday at the opening of a conference on natural gas, Shtonov argued that Bulgaria would face an extremely difficult situation in the case of a suspension of gas supplies from Ukraine.
Shtonov, as cited by the Focus news agency, explained that Bulgaria was receiving all of its gas deliveries via a pipeline coming from Russia via Ukraine and Romania.
He noted that Bulgaria’s local production was negligible, amounting to less than 0.5 million cubic meters of gas a day.
Shtonov emphasized that the Chiren underground gas storage facility could provide up to 4 million cubic meters of gas a day.
He insisted that the gas depot contained a sufficient amount of gas but its capacity was too small and it was essential to expand it.
Bulgaria’s caretaker Minister of Economy and Energy pointed out that thermal power plants could switch to fuel oil in the case of a gas crisis, adding that the scenario required substantial preparations, including transport and logistics and inspections of the capacity of the TPPs to start running on a different type of fuel.
He underscored that the impact of a gas crisis would be felt within a few hours, adding that the TPPs would have to be ready to switch to an alternative type of fuel within 10 hours.
Shtonov said that Bulgaria would manage one month in a state of a gas crisis but a second month in such a situation would necessitate restrictions to industrial capacities.
He said that Bulgaria’s interest in the South Stream gas pipeline project involved transit fees, stressing that the authorities were striving to negotiate a maximum rate.
Shtonov was adamant that it was inadmissible to fail to put Bulgaria’s geographic location to good use.
He said that the caretaker government backed each and every gas pipeline project, the main priority being the gas grid interconnections with Romania, Greece, Turkey and Serbia.
Shtonov assured that Bulgarian authorities were closely following the developments in the relations between Ukraine, Russia and the EU and were taking steps to prevent a gas supply disruption.