Bulgaria's Energy Sector Most Vulnerable Among 75 Countries
Bulgaria's energy policy is infiltrated by local and foreign private interests, including state interests.
This is the main conclusion of the Center for the Study of Democracy (CID)'s report on the governance of the energy sector, presented at a round table in Sofia on Friday.
The loss of integrity in governance is made easier by systematic corruption practices on all levels of the Bulgarian energy sector, bad governance of the state-owned energy companies, as well as the breaking of all rules of free competition in the realisation of big energy-infrastructure projects.
These factors cement the position of Bulgaria as the energetically poorest and most insecure country in the EU, the CID reports.
During the round table ex-Energy Minister Traycho Traykov, cited by the Bulgarian Telegraph Agency (BTA), said: "The report is interesting, it is easily read as a political thriller or pulp fiction".
The international index of energy security risks which is developed in the US and is the best measure of energy security to date, puts Bulgaria at the end of a list of 75 countries.
According to the report, the risks facing Bulgaria's energy policy are, to name a few: the high energy intensity of the economy and the dependence of one particular energy route and energy supplier.
These factors are further worsened by the effects of foreign and private interests infiltration and the general lack of transparency, as well as the inability of the state to form effective energy policies.
The state-owned energy companies face serious risks, the CID reports. Among them are: the general regulatory uncertainty in the sector and the pressure to participate in costly long-term projects with questionable profitability and purpose.
The report also presents several suggestions to improve the situation in the energy sector. Among them are: the introduction of mandatory minimal standards in state-owned company governance, the introduction of a public pre-analysis of the costs and benefits of large energy infrastructure projects and the removal of political officials from corporate governance to allow the state-owned companies to make transparent and independent profit-based decisions.
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