Bulgaria is Negotiating Long-Term Gas Deal with Turkey

Bulgaria’s acting energy minister arrived in Istanbul for talks that he hopes will lead to an agreement on long-term access to liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals in Turkey and gas transit to its border.
Executives of Bulgaria’s state gas company Bulgargaz and gas grid operator Bulgartransgaz are also taking part in the talks, Reuters reported.
Russia, which covers more than 95 percent of the Balkan country’s gas needs, halted supplies to Bulgaria in April after Sofia refused to pay in rubles.
An energy ministry spokesman said acting minister Rossen Hristov and executives flew to Istanbul late Thursday night.
Before he left, Hristov told reporters that negotiations between Bulgaria’s Bulgargaz and Turkey’s Botas were progressing quickly and he hoped to reach an agreement this year.
Bulgaria wants to reserve capacity at Turkish terminals until 2036 to import 1 billion cubic meters of LNG per year. The capacity for 2023 will be smaller, as Bulgargaz has already booked slots for several months at the Greek LNG terminal.
Hristov said the capacity and transit deal with Botas will allow Bulgargaz to enter into its own gas import contracts with U.S. or European LNG producers and reduce its dependence on Russian gas.
To try to get better prices, he said, Bulgargaz could also join Botas’ already advanced negotiations with major LNG producers in the U.S. and Europe.
The country currently imports 1 billion cubic meters of gas per year from Azerbaijan and covers the rest of its needs, about 3 billion cubic meters per year, by importing LNG from neighboring Greece.
According to the Energy Ministry’s plans, Bulgaria will cover one-third of its gas needs by importing LNG through Turkey, one-third through the LNG terminal near the Greek city of Alexandroupolis, due to be commissioned in 2024, and one-third through supplies from Azerbaijan.

About Parvin Faghfouri Azar

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