Bulgargaz is ready to buy gas on Turkmen border: Interview with company's executive director

Bulgargaz is ready to buy gas on Turkmen border: Interview with company's executive director

Azerbaijan, Baku, July 4 / Trend , A.Badalova/

Bulgargaz EAD Executive Director and Member of the Board of Directors of Bulgarian Energy Holding EAD Dimitar Gogov spoke with Trend in an exclusive interview.

Trend : You know, Turkmenistan uses the principle of selling it's gas at the border of the country. Is it acceptable for you to purchase gas on these terms, taking into consideration that there is no infrastructure to transport Caspian gas to Europe?

Dimitar Gogov: Bulgargaz EAD is the main importer and trader of natural gas in Bulgaria. Our company currently has several active contracts for natural gas supply which attend to the needs of the country and whose term expires throughout the period 2010 - 2012. These gas supplies originate from the Russian Federation. With respect to this and with regards to diversification of natural gas supply sources, Bulgargaz EAD is interested in purchasing gas from other regions as well, including Central Asia.

We are familiar with Turkmenistan's principle method of operation in natural gas sales. For us it is acceptable to purchase under this method and we hope to be able to come to an agreement on both sides on the specific conditions of sale or to be able to carry out swap deals.

Q: Which measures should be taken in order to prevent the new gas crisis caused by disruption in gas transit to the European consumers? Is Bulgaria ready for such situations that may occur in the future? 
A: Currently, we have at our disposal resources from one underground gas storage facility, which functions to compensate the seasonal irregularity in natural gas supplies. However, the capacity of this facility does not allow for extraction from it for more than 4 months. The appropriate measures to be taken in order to prevent a new gas crisis are:

- expansion of the existing underground gas storage facility;

- utilizing the potential of the depleted field Galata on the Black Sea;

- creating gas interconnections with Greece, Turkey and Romania;

- negotiating standby agreements with the companies from those countries for gas supply in emergency situations;

- expansion of the existing transit network and connecting it to the network on the territory of Serbia, i.e. cooperation and interaction with the other countries from the region;

- utilizing the potential for liquid natural gas supply. There is also a possibility to construct LNG and regasification terminals in the Varna port area and the Georgian Black Sea coast, as well as in other neighbouring Mediterranean countries.

Q: What is your prognosis on demand for gas in Europe, in particularly in Bulgaria? Don't you exclude the possibility of gas demand reduction in the background of the world financial crisis?

A: Gas demand in Europe and Bulgaria in particular will see an increase in the short, medium and long term. Naturally, the global financial crisis has a serious impact on natural gas consumption but, as with any crisis, I hope that its duration will be constricted in time and I am an optimist that the rate of demand and consumption of natural gas in Bulgaria and Europe as a whole will start accelerating as early as the beginning of 2010.

Q: What role do you attach to Azerbaijan in terms of diversification of energy supply sources to Europe?

A: In short - key role. In April this year, Bulgargaz EAD signed a Letter of Intent with the Azerbaijan national company Soccar, for long-term natural gas supply for the needs of Bulgaria. I hope that our cooperation in natural gas supply from the Caspian region and in particular Azerbaijan will continue in the future. The logic of economics indicates that it is totally plausible to have a signed long term natural gas supply contract between our two companies.

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