South Stream Profit for Bulgaria Estimated at EUR 54 M a year - Caretaker Minister
Bulgaria’s caretaker Energy Minister Vasil Shtonov has argued that the South Stream gas pipeline would have fetched meager profits from transit fees.
In a Thursday interview for bTV, he claimed that the gas pipeline would have brought EUR 54 M a year in transit fees over the next 30 years, adding that the sum had been calculated on the basis of 8% rate of return.
“As we see it, this is too little for Bulgaria,” Shtonov declared, adding that it was good for Russia as it would be paying much lower transit fees compared to the ones Ukraine was receiving now.
He noted that Bulgaria was supposed to receive six times the amount it was currently receiving for gas transit to Turkey from the South Stream gas pipeline.
He went on to insist that he was not the one who had stopped the gas pipeline project.
Shtonov insisted that he had simply complied with a letter of former Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski to the Council of Ministers.
He specified that the letter, dated July 31, stated that the South Stream project was terminated over the infringement proceedings of the European Commission and that no more efforts were to be made to sign contracts for the gas pipeline project.
“This letter of Plamen Oresharski was sent to the entire Council of Ministers but it was not submitted to the Ministry of Economy and Energy. I did not know about the letter until August 11, the day when I assumed office as caretaker minister,” he stated.
Shtonov underscored that the project should have been terminated by then-Energy Minister Dragomir Stoynev.
He pointed out that the South Stream gas pipeline project had not been stopped but “frozen”, adding that the problem was the disagreement between the European Union and Russia over its compliance with the EU’s Third Energy Package.
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