Bulgaria's Gas Hub Proposal 'Not on Agenda' in Moscow
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak has made clear that Bulgaria's intentions to build a "gas hub" are not being discussed in Moscow.
He has told the Bulgarian National Radio that, while Moscow "has learned from the media of the idea of Bulgaria... to set up a gas hub", it has never been officially put forward, since there have been no such submissions to his ministry to date.
Bulgaria, which came up with the "gas hub" project in December 2014 following the demise of the South Stream gas pipeline, believes it can build a gas distribution center for resources from various sources. The so-called "Balkan" hub has been welcomed in principle by the EU Commission.
Bulgaria, however, has also repeatedly argued the project should also involve Russian gas, with Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova having brought up the issue in two separate meetings with Russian officials.
During her last meeting with Russian conterpart Novak in June of last year, Petkova said the idea included setting up a transceiver in the Black Sea city of Varna to which Russian gas will be carried, alongside all the volumes potentially received from the interconnectors and future volumes extracted from the Black Sea.
Back then, Novak did not immediately dismiss the project, but underlined that Russia had already been made familiar with it.
On Sunday, the BNR's Moscow correspondent quotes Novak as saying:
"I don't understand what a "gas hub" means if there are no pipelines into the site. Where the gas will come from and what does the idea of a gas hub mean?"
"If there are no gas supplies under the Black Sea and the South Stream project, then there cannot be a gas hub as well, I am just thinking out loud."
Russia abandoned South Stream in 2014 citing EU opposition to the project, and announced it would build Turkish Stream, another Black Sea pipeline to Turkey, instead. However, the latter project is also in limbo due to the tensions between Moscow and Ankara and a dispute over gas pricing.
Earlier this year, Russian energy giant Gazprom also signed a memorandum with Greek and Italian companies over gas deliveries to Greece "via third countries" which technically could only mean Bulgaria or Turkey.
Novak told the BNR that the Poseidon project, as the memorandum has been unofficially named, includes a "possible route" of supplies after the document was signed, but talks are yet to be carried out with the "companies that are interested in [Poseidon]'s realization and in gas deliveris to Southeast Europe."
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