Bulgaria considers Gazprom the last stronghold for

Bulgaria considers Gazprom the last stronghold for

Rosen Hristiv, the acting minister of energy from Sofia, said for the Bulgarian Television, “The Cabinet will not sign a long-term contract with Gazprom”. He also said that there will be negotiations with Gazprom only for deliveries in accordance with the current contract.

Thus, “I am not going to sign a long-term contract with any company. I don’t think it’s right for a caretaker government to sign a long-term binding contract without broad political support and without a political cabinet,” he said.

According to his estimates, there is enough natural gas in the Southeast European region, but the problem is related to the price. He repeated that currently Russian natural gas is also bought, but through intermediaries. The acting minister repeatedly did not answer the question whether Gazprom can be considered a reliable partner. Hristov only pointed out that the last possible option for gas supply would be with the Russian company.

However, he then added that he could not sign a declaration of non-renewal of the long-term contract with the Russian monopolist, demanded by protesters against Bulgaria’s dependence on Gazprom. The acting minister acknowledged that Kiril Petkov’s government had made many efforts to ensure that gas supplies would not be interrupted.

In his clarifications, “We have the file, negotiations have been conducted, letters have been sent. A colossal sum was paid for legal advice to support these negotiations. There was a file where payment and delivery terms were discussed. They went to Brussels and discussed the EU’s common policy on Gazprom and the possibility of opening accounts in rubles.

There are guidelines from Brussels on what can and cannot be done under the sanctions. There is also a recommendation not to open an account in rubles. Gazprom was asked to somehow guarantee that the transfer from Bulgargaz to Gazprombank in dollars is a payment. We tried to eliminate or reduce this ruble conversion risk, over which we have no control, and at this stage the negotiations broke down, because no workable option was found. “The negotiations stopped at one point when Gazprom did not agree to some demands,” he explained.

Thus, Hristov rejected the lies of GERB and President Rumen Radev that the latter government did not try to secure supplies from Gazprom under the current contract.

Liquefied gas supplies were not beneficial for Bulgaria

In the context of Rosen Hristov’s information, liquefied gas deliveries were not advantageous for Bulgaria, as expensive unloading stations had to be purchased for regasification and transit. In addition to the offer for the 7 oil tankers from the American company Shinier, there are several other offers from intermediaries.

“Currently, there is a deficit of about 30% of the declared consumption until the end of the year, which is the amount required for Termoficare – Sofia, which is the largest consumer of natural gas in Bulgaria,” he added.

“The government will grant Bulgargaz a loan of 800 million leva”, the minister also said. According to him, the main problem is working capital, but the company is not in loss. “The reason is the low collection of receivables. The biggest debtor is Termoficare – Sofia, other companies don’t pay either, because of the high price of gas. However, there is no danger of Bulgargaz going bankrupt. The company’s liquidity will be improved by granting a loan worth 800 million leva, and a company refinancing procedure will be announced. We discussed with international banks for loans”, said Hristov.

The gas connection with Greece could be completed by the end of September

Regarding the completion of the gas connection with Greece, the acting minister said that they are doing everything possible to complete the project by the beginning of September and accused the previous government of not exercising control over its execution.

“We have not yet received the final schedule from the builders and the project company. There are no ready access routes for fire trucks, only partial tests have been done and the equipment has not been certified. The construction work is not yet completed. I have called the owner of the builder, Avax from Greece, who will talk to President Radev,” he added. It is not clear in what capacity the president intervenes in the activity of the executive and in the relations between the companies.

For his part, the deputy of United Russia, Alexei Pushkov, said that he saw no reason to resume gas supplies to Bulgaria. “I suppose we should give Bulgaria the opportunity to experience what it desperately wanted – to spend a winter without Russian gas. It is not very clear to me why we should continue to supply gas to an “unfriendly” state, that is, a hostile state, especially since she herself gave it up,” he wrote on his Telegram channel, Sega writes.