Bulgaria to Discuss Gas, Trade, Tourism with Russia Jan 27-28

Politics | January 13, 2016, Wednesday // 17:09|  views

Bulgaria's Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova (L) and Russia’s First Deputy Minister of Justice Sergey Gerasimov (R) talking during a meeting in Moscow in November 2015. Photo source: Bulgaria's Energy Ministry

Bulgaria will discuss with Russia the potential construction of a gas distribution center on Bulgarian territory in compliance with the European Union legislation later this month, the government in Sofia said on Wednesday.

“Russia is considered to be one of the supply sources of the proposed gas distribution center,” the Bulgarian government said in a statement following a weekly meeting.

The proposal for construction of a gas hub near Varna, on the Black Sea coast, was put forward by Bulgaria in December 2014, shortly after Russia announced it had abandoned the South Stream gas pipeline project citing objections of the European Commission. The projected pipeline was to carry Russian gas to central and southeastern Europe under the Black Sea via Bulgaria and Serbia, circumventing Ukraine.

The discussion will be held during the 15th session of the Bulgarian-Russian intergovernmental commission for economic, scientific and technical cooperation in Sofia. The session of the Bulgarian-Russian body, to be held in Sofia on 27 and 28 January, will be the first one after a five-year pause.

“The Russian Federation is an important partner of Bulgaria in the energy sector as a major supplier of oil, natural gas and nuclear fuel. Bulgaria remains a major transit route for Russian gas supplies to Turkey, Greece and Macedonia. At the session, Bulgaria will declare its interest in strengthening its relationship with Russia in the gas sector under mutually advantageous conditions,” according to the statement.

The session will also discuss the potential for increasing Bulgarian exports to Russia in view of the considerable deficit run by Bulgaria in trade with Russia, the government said.

Trade turnover shrank by 36.2% year-on-year in the first nine months of 2015 with Bulgaria’s exports to Russia decreasing by 35.8% and imports from Russia falling by 36.3%.

The potential for increasing the number of Russian tourists visiting Bulgaria will also be on the agenda of the session of the intergovernmental committee, the Bulgarian government said.

Russians ranked the fourth biggest group of foreign tourists who visited Bulgaria in the first nine months of 2015, according to the statement.

The session of the intergovernmental committee will be chaired by Bulgaria’s Economy Minister Bozhidar Lukarski and Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova, and Russia’s First Deputy Minister of Justice Sergey Gerasimov.

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Tags: Bulgaria, Russia, gas, trade, tourism, hub, distribution center, Varna, South stream, Lukarski, Petkova. Gerasimov


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