Petkova: Azerbaijan, Bulgaria could make joint gas supplies for Southeast Europe (Exclusive)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb.18

By Leman Zeynalova – Trend:

Azerbaijan and Bulgaria could make joint gas supplies for Southeast Europe, Bulgarian Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova said in an exclusive interview with Trend.

She recalled that the state gas company Bulgargaz EAD has concluded a delivery contract of 1 bcm /year with the Consortium Shah Deniz from the second phase of Azerbaijan gas field.

In practice after 2020, the Azerbaijan natural gas from Shah Deniz 2 will meet about 25-30 percent of the consumption of natural gas in Bulgaria, which is a serious share and will significantly increase Bulgaria’s energy security and promote competition on the Bulgarian gas market, added the minister.

“In the future, in the presence of additional volumes of natural gas at competitive prices in Azerbaijan, Bulgaria would be interested in supplying additional volumes of Azerbaijan natural gas. Our countries could also make joint gas supplies for the countries of Southeast Europe using the well-developed Bulgarian gas network and the infrastructure of the future regional “Balkan” gas hub,” said Petkova.

The minister went on to add that taking into account the significant capacity of the Bulgarian gas transmission system, the country's multi-annual experience as a major gas transporter in the region and the strategic geographical location, Bulgaria, together with the European Commission, has developed a project for regional gas hub “Balkan”, which would have a crucial importance for Southeast European countries.

“The feasibility study, co-financed by the EC, has shown that this project is extremely important and economically advantageous for Bulgaria, SEE, the EU and the supplier countries. Taking into account the positive results of the feasibility study, we expect Azerbaijan to be one of the natural gas suppliers for the regional “Balkan” gas hub. The gas hub concept consists of two parts, the construction of an infrastructure and an operating gas exchange. In this connection, Bulgartransgaz registered at the beginning of the year a subsidiary “Balkan gas hub” EAD. The company will operate trading platforms for the needs of natural gas markets within “Balkan” gas hub,” said Petkova.

She noted that in synergy with the physical infrastructure of the hub, the necessary prerequisites for the construction of the first liquid physical and commercial gas hub in the region of Southeast Europe based in Bulgaria will be provided.

“We estimate in the future, up to 49% of the shares of “Balkan gas hub” EAD to be provided to other legal entities and individuals, such as gas distribution and gas network operators, licensed gas exchange operators and trade platform operators, employers' organizations, natural gas consumers, companies engaged in extraction and/or trade of gas, etc,” she said.

This would contribute to the implementation of the Balkan gas hub concept and increase in the liquidity of the natural gas market in Bulgaria and Southeastern Europe, according to Petkova.

“I believe that the implementation of these key gas projects will further increase the capacity of the Bulgarian gas transmission system, thereby helping Bulgaria to maintain and expand its position on Europe's gas map. Accordingly, our strategic energy partnership and our joint projects will turn Azerbaijan into one of the main and reliable suppliers of natural gas, not only for the SEE, but also for the EU,” she added.

Bulgaria expects to receive Azerbaijani gas through IGB, a gas pipeline that will be connected to the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP).

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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