Bulgaria’s Energy Minister admitted that Russia did Not Ask for Gas Penalties

Energy | February 14, 2023, Tuesday // 09:55|  views

Acting energy minister Rosen Hristov

Three days after he himself announced that Gazprom had demanded penalties due to the unfulfilled natural gas supply contract, Acting Minister of Energy Rosen Hristov retracted his words on Monday and announced that there is no such claim. He explained that there is a dispute between "Bulgargaz" and the Russians over small amounts for quantities already delivered.

The reason for possible arbitration is clear - the sole decision of "Gazprom Export" to derogate from the long-term contract between the two parties and to request an ultimate change in the part of the method of payment. "Bulgargaz" refused and "Gazprom" stopped deliveries. Ever since he took office, Rosen Hristov keeps hinting that Gazprom can sue Bulgaria for billions and keeps claiming that Bulgaria itself stopped the contract, and he did so yesterday. Something that is not true. This is what he said a few days ago to BNT. He emphasized that the amount was confidential, but there was talk in the media about 1 billion euros, which was supposed to actually cost, and which was not delivered.

Almost all Bulgarian experts on arbitration cases are categorical that "Gazprom" cannot win such a case, despite Hristov's veiled attempts to prove the opposite. The opinion of the White&Case law firm, which advised "Bulgargaz", is similar. The reason is that even if the court accepts that "Gazprom" acted in conditions of force majeure, it exempts both parties from enforcement, not just one.

Yesterday, Hristov again explained that the Ministry is working with an international law firm to prepare our eventual defense, but did not give more details on the subject.

He said that the current dispute is about quantities delivered in April and the two companies are arguing whether this gas was overpaid or Bulgargaz owes amounts. He did not say what they were, but emphasized that they were small.

We remind you that similar information had to be presented by Hristov's ministry itself immediately after his previous appearances about the fines. In it, the department emphasized that such a penalty has not been requested at this time.

Rosen Hristov also commented on the "Magnitsky" topic. He announced that he fired the sanctioned Alexander Nikolov from the Kozloduy NPP because there were reports of corruption, but he could not definitively confirm whether he had sent the materials on the subject to the prosecutor's office.

According to him, the information in the reports is about working with related companies and advancing interests. More or less the same as the accusations in the "Magnitsky" report, the minister explained.

On the topic of gas prices and supplies for Bulgaria, the minister assured that quantities and future supplies at good prices and from various sources are secured. According to him, the cabinet has ensured diversification and consumers and businesses can rest easy.

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Tags: gas, energy, Bulgaria, Gazprom


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