Bulgaria, Azerbaijan Seek to Unblock Nabucco Gas Project

Energy | March 4, 2015, Wednesday // 13:55|  views

Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev (L) and Bulgarian PM Boyko Borisov (R) during Aliyev's visit to Sofia. Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria and Azerbaijan's leaders are to seek a renewal of the Nabucco gas pipeline project which came to a halt a few years back, Bulgarian PM Boyko Borisov has announced.

His comments came at a press conference following a meeting with Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev, who is on a visit to Sofia on Wednesday.

He told reporters that as early as "today [Wednesday] we will go with President [Ilham] Aliyev to the EU Commission to present the project for Nabucco's renewal," most media outlets quoted him as saying.

Borisov stressed that Bulgaria "was an extremely loyal EU member" and "fulfilled all requirements of the Third Energy Package". This was an apparent reference to the decision of Sofia not to unblock the construction of South Stream which was frozen at the behest of EU. This stance prompted Russia to suspend South Stream, vowing to build a pipeline to Turkey instead.

"Bulgaria cannot be merely a brake, Bulgaria cannot just serve to act the EU Commission's interests, in this case in a project which is entirely both NATO and Europe-oriented [sic!] and years on we have invested money into the Nabucco project", Borisov added.

The PM also stressed the importance of the Southern Gas Corridor for Bulgaria, a project with which Azerbaijan's President gave "an opportunity" to Sofia also allowing its gas operator Bulgargaz to buy its own stake.

Ilham Aliyev said that Azerbaijan is a strategically located country and has proven gas reserves of 2.5 trillion cubic metres.

“Bulgaria is already receiving Azeri gas and we hope in the future it will become a transit country for the other EU member states,” Aliyev said at the press conference.

Aliyev also said the Southern Gas Corridor is one of the biggest projects jointly developed by Azerbaijan and Europe.

“During our meeting we discussed different aspects of our bilateral relations and we once more realized the existence of great opportunities for cooperation between Bulgaria and Azerbaijan”.

Azeri companies are showing great interest in investing in Bulgaria, Aliyev said, adding Bulgarian companies can take part in transport infrastructure projects in Azerbaijan.

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Tags: Boyko Borisov, Ilham Aliyev, Nabucco, Bulgaria, azerbaijan


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