Energy Minister: Bulgaria expects Azerbaijan to be one of key natgas suppliers for “Balkan” gas hub (Exclusive)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb.18

By Leman Zeynalova – Trend:

Bulgaria expects Azerbaijan to be one of key natural gas suppliers for “Balkan” gas hub, Bulgarian Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova said in an exclusive interview with Trend.

She noted that the strategic energy partnership between the two countries includes the supply of Azerbaijan natural gas to Bulgaria from the Southern Gas Corridor, future joint supply of Azerbaijan natural gas through the territory of Bulgaria to other countries of the region, via the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria, the existing gas transmission system of Bulgartransgaz EAD and the project for regional “Balkan” gas hub.

“We expect Azerbaijan to be one of the key natural gas suppliers for “Balkan” gas hub. Another opportunity we explore is to intensify the cooperation in SOCAR’s investment in the gas distribution sector in Bulgaria,” noted Bulgaria’s energy minister.

Petkova recalled that the meeting with Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov was very fruitful and the sides discussed a number of aspects of bilateral cooperation.

“The main themes were the supply of Azerbaijan natural gas to Bulgaria and the development of regional and EU gas projects, such as the Southern Gas Corridor, the IGB, and the regional gas hub “Balkan”. The meeting preceded the very successful fifth meeting of the Bulgarian-Azerbaijan Intergovernmental commission for economic co-operation in Sofia, on 6 and 7 November 2018,” noted Petkova.

She pointed out that Bulgaria has always supported the development of the Southern Gas Corridor, as the country is an integral part of it through the project for Interconnector Greece Bulgaria.

In this connection, the Bulgarian Ministry of Energy has provided its institutional support for SOCAR's application for grants under the EU Connecting Europe Facility for the implementation of specific activities on TANAP, with which the Bulgarian side effectively supports the implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor, Bulgaria’s energy minister added.

“I would like to underline that Azerbaijan is a strategic partner for us, with whom we want to develop long-term cooperation. Historically, our two peoples have always enjoyed traditional friendly relations. Political relations between the two countries are at the level of strategic partnership and we think that it is time they develop into a fruitful economic partnership. In the field of energy, we have an excellent partnership, particularly with regard to the supply of Azerbaijan natural gas to Bulgaria and the region of Southeast Europe. For us, it is extremely important to ensure the supply of the contracted 1 bcm /year of Azerbaijan natural gas for Bulgaria from the second phase of the gas field Shah Deniz,” she said.

IGB is a gas pipeline, which will allow Bulgaria to receive Azerbaijani gas, in particular, the gas produced from Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz 2 gas and condensate field. IGB is expected to be connected to TAP via which gas from the Shah Deniz field will be delivered to the European markets.

The initial capacity of IGB will be 3 billion cubic meters of gas.

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Follow the author on Twitter: @Lyaman_Zeyn

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