Kuwaiti Company Interested in Belene NPP – Bulgaria Energy Minister
A Kuwaiti company has expressed interest in the Belene nuclear power plant project, according to Bulgaria's Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova.
Petkova, as cited by Standard daily, made clear that the authorities were to collect more information about the company and its experience in the sphere of nuclear energy in particular.
She said that the additional information was necessary as the proposal had not been submitted following the usual procedure, i.e. via the Embassy of Kuwait or the InvestBulgaria Agency.
Petkova informed that a sitting on the lawsuit initiated by Russian Atomstroyexport against Bulgaria’s National Electric Company (NEK) at the International Court of Arbitration in Paris over the Belene NPP project was to take place in February.
“As the arbitrage procedure has reached an advanced stage, I would like to refrain from comments in order to not influence the trial,” she said.
Petkova said that the renegotiation of the contracts with US-owned thermal power plants ContourGlobal Maritsa East 3 and AES Maritza East 1 was a major priority of the government, adding that the talks with the two TPPs had been launched on the first day in office of the Cabinet.
She claimed that the talks with the two US-owned TPPs on electricity prices would be wrapped up by end-March.
Bulgaria’s Energy Minister thanked the two TPPs for their understanding and made clear that state-owned NEK had run up debts of slightly over BGN 600 M to them under long-term contracts, thereby rendering the TPPs unable to pay mines.
She argued that a reduction in the price at which NEK bought electricity from the two TPPs could provide an opportunity to stabilize the sector and downsize the deficit.
Petkova pointed out that she was committed to the goal of achieving full liberalization of the electricity market as soon as possible.
She declared that the creation of preconditions for the achievement of a sustainable liberalization of the electricity market and the establishment of a functioning energy exchange were key priorities in the government’s program for the sector.
Petkova specified that the Board of Directors of the Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH) had adopted a decision for a capital hike of the Independent Bulgarian Energy Exchange (IBEX) in early January 2015 to enable the platform to start functioning.
She said that the move would secure the operational expenditure of the company.
Bulgaria’s Energy Minister also reminded that the State Commission for Energy and Water Regulation (DKEVR) had issued a license to the company at the end of 2014.
She said that the authorities were currently working on amendments to the Energy Act to allow every consumer to pick their supplier of electricity.
Petkova pointed out that all activities related to the liberalization of the market were to be wrapped up by end-2015, following the requirements of the EU’s Third Energy Package.
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