Bulgarian PM Hopes for Quick Solutions for Belene, South Stream

Business » ENERGY | August 6, 2016, Saturday // 14:37
Bulgaria: Bulgarian PM Hopes for Quick Solutions for Belene, South Stream Photo by BGNES

Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has expressed hope that the planned Bulgarian-Russian working groups on joint energy projects will quickly propose solutions to Belene and South Stream issues acceptable to both sides.

Borisov and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday discussed over the phone the establishment of working groups to decide what to do about joint energy projects. These include the abandoned projects for the construction of South Stream gas pipeline and Belene nuclear power plant.

"The ruling requires Bulgaria to pay and take the two reactors. In this situation, if the political class in Bulgaria has better solutions, I’ll be happy to hear them,” Borisov told reporters during a visit to the Black Sea city of Varna on Saturday.

Borisov referred to a June ruling of the International Court of Arbitration which requires Bulgarian state-owned electricity company NEK to pay EUR 550 M to Russia’s Atomstroyexport as compensation for the equipment already manufactured for Belene.

"It will be irresponsible to people if anyone tells me that we have to pay about BGN 3 B and take two reactors and put them into a museum. We’ll find it difficult, if not impossible, to sell them," Borisov said.

Borisov visited Iran last month and said that the country’’s President Hassan Rouhani would ask energy experts to study a possible purchase of Russian-made reactors manufactured for Belene.

A sale of those reactors to Iran looks unlikely as Russia and Iran signed a deal in 2014 under which Russia will build eight reactors for Iran. Any deal for the sale of the reactors manufactured for Belene will require the consent of the Russian producer.

A possible option for Belene will be to transform the project into a private venture, with small participation from the government, Borisov said.

He added that steps have been made to find investors for Balkan Gas Hub, a future distribution centre on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast for delivering gas to Europe received from various sources.

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Tags: Bulgaria, Borisov, Balkan, gas hub, Belene, Iran, Putin, Juncker, South stream
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