Supreme Administrative Court Closes Case against Selection of Contractor in Bulgaria Extension of TurkStream
117 - ECONOMY - TURKSTREAM - BULGARIA - PROJECT - LEGAL DISPUTE
Supreme Administrative Court Closes
Case against Selection of Contractor in
Bulgaria Extension of TurkStream
September 16 (BTA) - The Supreme Administrative Court Monday said that it has closed a case against a decision by the competition protection regulator concerning the selection of a contractor for the construction of a Bulgaria extension of the TurkStream gas pipeline project. The court said that its decision was prompted by a lack of will for appealing the regulator's decision by DZZD, one of two bidders for the Bulgaria gas pipeline project.
A consortium led by Saudi contractor Arkad Engineering won in April a tender to build a nearly 500 km gas pipeline in Bulgaria. In May, contracting authority Bulgartransgaz said Arkad had failed to present all the requisite documents on time and disqualified the company. Also, it signed a contract with the other bidder, DZZD Consortium Gas Development and Expansion in Bulgaria, which had in the meantime lowered its offer. DZZD is made up of Italy's Consorzio Varna 1 and the Bulgarian branch of Luxembourg-registered Completions Development Sarl, reportedly linked to Russia's TMK.
Arkad appealed the decision of the contracting authority before the Commission for the Protection of Competition and won the case in June. In July, DZZD appealed the anti-trust commission's decision before the Supreme Administrative Court and the legal dispute was expected to delay significantly the project.
On September 4, the mediapool.bg e-zine quoted three knowledgeable sources in the government and gas business circles, speaking of intense talks underway between Arkad and DZZD for sharing the gas pipeline contract. The expectations were that DZZD would retract its appeal to the Supreme Administrative Court against the choice of Arkad as contractor in the project to build a 474 km gas pipeline from Bulgaria's border with Turkey to the border with Serbia, which Bulgartransgaz is in a rush to complete. The reason is that it has contracts with Russia's Gazprom and the Swiss MET for carriage of gas through the future pipeline from January 2020.
The court announcement likely means that the two bidders for the project have made a deal to share the contract and all stumbling blocks have now been removed. LN/