Bulgaria will Seek Gas from Azerbaijan, Turkey or RussiaEnergy | August 18, 2022, Thursday // 16:21| views
Acting energy minister Rosen Hristov
Azerbaijan, Turkey, Russia. Bulgaria will negotiate with companies from these countries, in this order, to ensure the necessary quantities of natural gas for the winter. This was announced by acting energy minister Rosen Hristov. According to data from Bulgargaz, the shortage of the raw material is 40%, even if the deliveries from the American company "Cheniere" of seven liquefied gas tankers, agreed by the "Petkov" cabinet, are being realized. The latter is also interested in medium-term gas supplies, even if the current arrangements are not finalized, Hristov said.
"If we decide to negotiate with Gazprom, the best scenario is the resumption of supplies under the current contract (which expires at the end of the year). I don't see the point of negotiating a new contract from the beginning. We will discuss the way of payment which has been offered to other European countries. We want better terms, to see if they will agree. We must bear in mind that it is not certain whether they would want to work with us, as the previous government did drastic steps for the relations with Russia. Things are complicated in general. I hope that the economic interest will stand aside from the political one," Hristov said.
On the occasion of the seven tankers from the USA, Hristov announced that "Cheniere" refused the request of the Bulgarian side to extend the deadline for confirming the contract, which is August 19. According to his explanations, it is needed to find free slots for unloading and regasification. Hristov emphasized that for the three tankers by the end of the year, they had not been secured. Former Prime Minister Kiril Petkov claims the opposite - there was an agreement for two with Greece.
Hristov commented that he had talks with the Deputy Minister of Energy of Turkey, who should say by tomorrow morning whether there are any free terminals in the country during this period. Separately, offers were collected from companies with reserved slots in Turkey and Greece, but here, according to Hristov, the moment came with the price and the willingness of citizens and businesses to pay it. However, another lack of concreteness in Hristov's explanations made an impression.
He said that he was not ready to give the exact number of gas secured for September from Bulgargaz tenders, and he thought that the information was confidential. The state company could also provide gas for October under the same scheme, if the deal for the tankers is not realized.
“My idea is to provide gas for 120, 130, 150% of the needs, and thus protect ourselves from geopolitical and technical shocks,” said Hristov.
On the occasion of the negotiations with Azerbaijan, he said that they are for increasing the quantities in connection with the faster filling of the storage in Chiren, which is a European requirement. The official information until that moment indicated that when the interconnector with Greece is completed, the supply of Azerbaijani gas to Bulgaria will automatically increase, and the price will decrease.
There is no early gas from the interconnector because of the previous government
Even if the interconnector with Greece is ready before October 1, gas for Bulgaria cannot be delivered because of an agreement of the previous government, Hristov said, adding explicitly that he did not want to go into details. Today he was on an inspection of the construction of the facility, for which a schedule had to be presented by yesterday, as was the agreement after the meeting with President Radev, at which the Greek builder undertook to be ready by September 8.
“The ICGB and Avax have submitted a draft timetable for the completion of all activities. By the end of the day it will be submitted to the Ministry of Energy and Regional Development. It will be the starting point from which we will attend weekly operations to we are monitoring the implementation,” Hristov said.
According to him, one of the most important unfinished things for the operation is the computer control system, which is in test mode. On September 14, the Ministry of Energy will check how far the implementation has come. According to Hristov, the remaining critical points are safety, the documentation for the issuance of the acts for putting the construction into operation, as well as the licenses.
"The slightest delay and deviation from this schedule would cause the project to be delayed beyond October 1. This would cause great financial damage to the country. We are currently confident that the project will be ready and gas will flow on October 1. Even to be ready earlier, there is no way that gas will flow earlier than October 1 because of agreements made by the previous government," said Hristov, indicating that he did not want to comment on them.
He specified that if the commissioning is delayed by a few days and takes place in October, the gas to Bulgaria will leave on November 1.
Bulgargaz is being asked to act aggressively
The new management of the state company "Bulgargaz", which was taken over this week by former MP from BSP Denitsa Zlateva, will be asked to actively and aggressively react to any fluctuations in the market, Hristov said. According to him, one should not have fallen into a situation in which one had to search for gas at the last moment.
The other priority is solving the liquidity problems of the company, which received an 800 million BGN state loan. According to Hristov, sources of financing - both state and private - should have been more aggressively sought.
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