Energy Minister: Bulgaria Now Counts on Own Deposits
Bulgaria is counting on own deposits in guaranteeing its energy independence, according to Energy and Economy Minister, Delyan Dobrev.
Dobrev, cited by the news agency BTA, said Sunday that Bulgaria is behind in developing and exploring its own resources and the government is now trying to speed up this process since local natural gas is 35% cheaper than the one purchased by Bulgargaz from abroad.
The Minister gave as an example of the efforts of the Cabinet, the consortium between the French Total, Austrian OMV and Spanish Repsol already drilling for oil and gas in Block 1-21 Khan Asparuh in the Black Sea, and Bulgaria being just 4.5 years away from proving the existence of significant deposits there.
The procedure for concession bids for Block 1-22 Teres has already started as well and its announcement has been published in the official EU gazette. The deadline to submit bids is May 2013, while explorations should start by mid-2013, according to Dobrev.
He further noted that the Energy Strategy of Bulgaria foresees 30% gasification by 2020, to reduce the use of electric power by 19% and harmful carbon dioxide emissions by 13%.
The Minister labeled the new gas contract with Russian energy giant Gazprom a "great success."
Dobrev also informed that foreign direct investments in the January – October 2012 period amounted to EUR 1.33 B, adding he expected that the Bulgarian business will receive in 2014 – 2020 at least EUR 1.2 B under the EU operational program for innovations and competitiveness.
Procedures for contracts for implementing innovations in small and medium enterprises in the amount of BGN 88 M will be announced in 2013, along with BGN 29 M for "cluster" support.
The execution of the program for energy effectiveness for BGN 300 M, co-financed with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, is ongoing as well.
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