Belgium, (Brussels Morning) After Russia’s Gazprom cut off gas deliveries to Bulgaria on 27 April, the country is set to receive two shiploads of US gas on 8 June and 23 June.
Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said two US gas tankers are headed to Bulgaria noting that a review of the options available to address the energy crisis showed that the gas price on the US market was a quarter of the EU price.
The two shiploads of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the US were contracted directly with a US company during Petkov’s working visit to Washington on 9 and 10 May, according to the Bulgarian News Agency BTA.
The PM said that the US lower price will end up being equivalent to the price of Gazprom supplies. Trying to secure multiple suppliers, Bulgaria has also forged a deal with Azerbaijan, with deliveries expected for 1 July. “I want to prove that Bulgaria is not dependent and that no one can twist its arms,” he said.
Speaking on the Bulgarian National Television (BNT) earlier on Sunday, the Prime Minister’s Chef de Cabinet, Lena Borislavova, said that the Azeri gas is priced at 25-26 euros, whereas the current price in Europe is 90 euros.
Borislavova said the country needs between “12 and 20 tankers of gas per year to guarantee supplies”. She added that negotiations are underway on medium- and long-term gas supplies “at prices three or four times lower than the last agreed prices with Gazprom”.
Additional options are being sought for gas supplies from Turkmenistan, Egypt, Turkey and elsewhere. The long-term gas agreements will be signed directly with the suppliers, without any intermediaries.
Despite having its own refinery infrastructure, Borislavova said that at the moment, no economic or legal considerations could lead to the nationalization of strategic facilities such as the LUKoil Neftochim refinery of Burgas, which is owned by Russia.
In a related development, the natural gas transmission and storage system operator Bulgartransgaz Executive Director Vladimir Malinov said that Bulgaria has started talks with Turkey for gas supplies through its territory.
After visiting the Chiren gas storage facility on Sunday, Malinov told BNT that Bulgartransgaz expects to be able to fill it up by the autumn from the current 21% of its capacity, a normal volume for this time of the year.
Around one million cubic metres of gas are fed to the facility on a daily basis.
Malinov also said that Bulgaria is not going to suspend the transiting of Russian gas via its territory to Serbia and Hungary.