Two documents on boosting energy cooperation between Bulgaria and Greece, involving a commitment to build a new pipeline at neck-breaking speed and gas storage deal, were approved by the Bulgarian interim government on Wednesday.
The first memorandum states that studies will begin for the construction of the oil pipeline from Alexandroupolis to Burgas. It should provide crude oil supplies to the “Lukoil Neftochim” refinery.
The second approved memorandum focuses on the conclusion of an agreement that will allow Greek gas suppliers to reserve capacity from the Bulgarian gas storage facility in Chiren. In return, Bulgarian energy companies must receive slots for unloading liquefied gas at Greek terminals.
The Bulgarian government claims that the new petrol pipeline can be built by the end of 2024, a rather ambitious goal.
At the end of last year, the Russian oil company Lukoil supported the idea revived by Bulgarian President Rumen Radev to renew the work on the oil pipeline construction project. Lukoil claims that the project could help replace Russian oil, which it currently imports by tankers through the port of Rosenets in Burgas. Bulgaria has a derogation to use Russian oil until the end of 2024.
The Burgas-Alexandroupolis project was part of the so-called ‘Grand Slam’ of the Russian energy project in Bulgaria 15 years ago. The Grand Slam also included the Belene nuclear power plant and the South Stream gas pipeline, built as part of the Turkish Stream. The Belene NPP will not be built, but the reactors have been delivered and for a long time, there was talk of using them for a new nuclear unit at the Kozloduy NPP.
The cooperation agreement between the two countries to ensure the security of natural gas supply and storage is in compliance with the European regulation adopted in June 2022.
It stipulates that any country that does not have underground gas storage facilities on its territory must maintain strategic reserves equal to 15% of its annual consumption in another EU country. Greece has no gas storage facilities and Bulgaria is the closest country with one where the mandatory reserves can be stored.
“The memorandum will be concluded for 12 months and will enter into force after its ratification by the Bulgarian parliament,” the Bulgarian government said in a statement. Since the beginning of the year, the caretaker government has been active, especially on energy issues.
On Tuesday, the Bulgarian state gas company Bulgargaz concluded a 13-year agreement with the Turkish state energy company BOTAS (BOTAS) for the transit of 1.5 billion cubic metres of natural gas per year to Bulgaria.
State supplier Bulgargaz has been granted the right to purchase liquefied gas, which will be unloaded at five Turkish regasification terminals and then transited to Bulgaria via the Turkish gas network.
(Krassen Nikolov | EURACTIV.bg)