Nickolay Mladenov: Bulgarian Gas Hub Project Can Be a SuccessOpinions | September 8, 2016, Thursday // 08:05| views
Nickolay Mladenov. File photo, BGNES
Bulgaria could turn into an important gas distribution center in the Balkans with the help of the gas hub project it is currently seeking to implement, UN official and ex-Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov has said.
In an opinion piece published in daily 24 Chasa an on his blog, he argues Bulgaria should not be treated as a mere transit territory for other countries' projects.
The current UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process has thrown has thrown its support behind the Balkan Gas Hub, which he describes as the "first entirely Bulgarian project corresponding to our national interest in the field of energy diversification."
He enumerates "at least three" reasons why the project is worth the effort and can turn into a success.
"Firstly, the region does not have its own gas hub. Why should only Western Europe win from the free gas market?"
"Secondly, Southeast Europe expects a much bigger growth in gas consumption than the rest of Europe. Why shouldn't we benefit from this as a state?"
"And thirdly, the strong support which Bulgaria receives from the European Union."
Energy security remains crucially important even at a time when the EU is facing another kind of challenge, namely the migratory pressure on its borders, Mladenov as added.
He has also pointed to the country's well-developed gas transportation network and interconnections with neighboring countries that are currently being built. Offshore gas exploration in the Black Sea has also begun, he hsa emphasized.
But he has also warned that geopolitics will "inevitably" become part of discussions on the Balkan Gas Hub.
Mladenov served as Foreign Minister of Bulgaria between 2009 and 2013, under Boyko Borisov's first government.
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