Bulgaria, Romania, Greece to link natural gas grids
Bulgaria has signed an agreement with Romania and Greece to build a link between the countries' natural gas grids, Wall Street Journal quoted a Bulgarian official as saying.
"We are finally getting a new source of gas because until now we were totally reliant on one source - Russia," Bulgaria's Deputy Energy Minister Zhecho Stankov said.
Bulgaria consumes around 3 billion cubic meters of gas per year and 95 percent of this volume is purchased from Russia's Gazprom company.
The new link agreed between Bulgaria, Romania and Greece, known as a vertical gas corridor, will cost about 220 million euros and become operational in 2018, Stankov said.
Through the link, Bulgaria will be able to buy gas from Azerbaijan and from Greece's liquefied natural gas terminals, he said.
Bulgaria is also seeking to ramp up its own production of natural gas. Last week, it launched a tender process for deep water gas and oil exploration off its Black Sea coastline, the deputy minister said.
Bulgarian government officials said in February that they are in talks with Royal Dutch Shell PLC, BP PLC, Statoil ASA and other oil companies for the exploration of Bulgaria's Teres and Silistar oil and gas blocks.