Bulgaria to Seek Binding Bids for New Gas Link by Jan 16
Bulgaria’s state gas network operator Bulgartransgaz plans to seek binding bids from shippers by Jan 16 for a new gas link to transport mainly Russian gas from the TurkStream pipeline to central Europe, company documents showed on Thursday, reports Reuters.
Bulgartransgaz plans to take a final investment decision and spend 1.4 billion euros (.59 billion) on a new 484-km gas pipeline from its border with Turkey to Serbia by 2020, pending the outcome of the open season.
Potential shippers will be invited to register for the bidding from Dec 21 and should file their offers to book capacity for 15 years by January 16, the documents, pending approval by the energy regulator, showed.
Bulgartransgaz plans to hold two more rounds of the economic test by the end of January in case it is unable to secure enough interest to make the project viable.
Five companies have expressed interest in shipping gas through Bulgaria’s network and sources said Russia’s Gazprom was interested in using most of the capacity.
Gazprom said on Nov 30 it was considering whether to book capacity in the Bulgarian gas system. Bulgaria saw that as an intention to ship its gas from TurkStream to Serbia, Hungary and Austria through Bulgaria.
Moscow has also suggested that the option for an extension of TurkStream via Greece to Italy is also possible. Gazprom is building TurkStream to bypass Ukraine on the south amid strong political tensions with the West over Russia’s actions against Ukraine in the Kerch Strait.
Its two lines will each have an annual capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters. The first line, which runs from Russia to Turkey under the Black Sea, is intended for Turkish consumption.
The United States has said that an extended TurkStream, along with Nord Stream 2 pipeline that aims to bring Russian gas to Western Europe via the Baltic Sea will deepen EU dependence on Russia and increase Moscow’s grip over Ukraine.
Brussels has also said that Bulgaria, currently fully dependent on Russian gas, needs to sell Russian gas through its planned gas hub in Varna along with gas from other sources rather than just building transit pipelines.
Sofia has vowed to fully comply with EU rules and seek ways to transit some of the gas and sell part of it via its planned Varna hub.
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