Bulgaria has signed a long-term contract with Turkey on the transit of 1.5 billion cubic meters of gas per year via the partner country’s terminals for liquefied natural gas (LNG) and transport system. The move further improves the country’s position to ensure the supply of gas, jeopardized by the halt of deliveries from Russia in April.
A 13-year transit agreement will provide Bulgaria with another alternative for natural gas supply, considering the shortage since Gazprom stopped deliveries in April because the country didn’t want to pay in rubles.
Bulgaria received about 95% of its deliveries from Russia, so it has to rely on imports from Azerbaijan and via LNG. However, the one billion cubic meters from Azerbaijan that was contracted could not be delivered immediately because the existing gas pipelines could carry only a third, until the Greek-Bulgarian interconnector started operating in October.
Last summer, Bulgaria canceled several LNG deliveries due to high costs of leasing terminals in Turkey and Greece
The issue with LNG was caused by the high costs of booking LNG terminals in Turkey and Greece, forcing the government to cancel contracted deliveries from the United States in the summer. The new agreement with Turkey enables Bulgaria to import LNG through five Turkish terminals. The two sides didn’t disclose the price.
Bulgaria consumes three to 3.5 billion cubic meters of gas annually, so another 1.5 billion via Turkey along with 1 billion cubic meters from Azerbaijan will significantly improve its position. Imports via the Alexandroupolis LNG terminal in Greece will additionally boost supply. Bulgaria has a 20% share in the project, which is scheduled to come online in 2024.
The transit agreement with Turkey was signed by the directors of Bugargaz and Botaş, Denitsa Zlateva and Burhan Özcan, in the presence of energy ministers Rossen Hristov and Fatih Dönmez.
Bulgaria has started negotiations on the joint purchase of gas with Turkey
Hristov said the deal solves the lack of infrastructure for offloading LNG. Bulgaria, as reported by DW, got the opportunity to buy gas from all international producers and unload it in Turkey, where it is logistically most convenient.
His colleague Fatih Dönmez stressed the agreement is also important for increasing the security of supply in the Balkan region.
Of note, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Hungary are currently supplied via the Turk Stream pipeline from Russia. After an explosion severely damaged the Nord Stream gas pipeline, Turkey and Russia started negotiations to make Turkey the main transit country for the transport of Russian gas to Europe.
According to Euractiv, Bulgargas has started negotiations with Botaş about the joint purchase of LNG from American and Norwegian companies. Bulgaria is trying to include Romania in the deal in order to achieve lower prices.