Parliament Updates Bulgaria's Energy Strategy
110 POLITICS-PARLIAMENT0ENERGY STRATEGY-UPDATE
Bulgaria's Energy Strategy
Sofia, November 30 (BTA) - Parliament on Friday updated 162-0 Bulgaria's energy strategy by 2020. One MP from GERB and nine from the United Patriots abstained.
The update has been prompted by expected changes after January 1 2020 to the gas supply routes through Bulgaria from the south to the north and a possible decrease in transited quantities and revenues as a result of a number of key projects that will be implemented in the region. These include TurkStream, the South Gas Corridor, TANAP, TAP, the Bulgaria-Greece interconnector, an LNG terminal in Alexandroupolis, the East Med gas pipeline. Also, Gazprom Export has notified Bulgaria that it won't be using the existing gas transmission network from Romania to Turkey after 2020.
According to the strategy update, the implementation of a gas hub aims to preserve Bulgaria's key role on Europe's gas map and secure natural gas supplies for Bulgaria, the EU and the region.
Under the strategy by the end of 2019 Bulgartransgaz should expand the gas transmission network from the Bulgarian-Turkish border to the Bulgarian-Serbian border and launch the extension into operation at an estimated cost of 2.86 billion leva.
By the end of 2018, Bulgartransgaz should take steps to set up a natural gas exchange and put in place market conditions for the implementation of the Balkan gas hub and launch a procedure for acquiring a stake in an LNG terminal in Alexandroupolis.
During debates in the plenary hall the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms said that will back the updated strategy. "We'll be watching very closely how these measures are implemented and won't allow delays and a waste of public funding," said socialist MP Tasko Ermenkov. According to Ramadan Atalai from the Movement for Rights and Freedoms the energy sector is in a worse shape and the measures are belated.
Valeri Simeonov from the United Patriots said that he won't back the updated strategy unless he is convinced that Bulgaria will benefit from the implementation of TurkStream. He said: "For years, we have been hearing about beneficial projects for Bulgaria which in the end turn out to be beneficial for some other country."
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Russia's Gazprom said on Friday that it is interested in the expansion of Bulgaria's gas network and plans to book capacity on the new pipeline. LI/PP