Bulgarian Ministry of Energy: We have Enough Gas for a Sufficiently Foreseeable Period
“Yesterday, a letter was received from Gazprom Export, stating the suspension of natural gas supplies to Bulgaria. This should be confirmed in practice in minutes. We will inform you if it happens,” announced the Minister of Energy Alexander Nikolov at a briefing this morning after the news that Russia has suspended gas supplies to Bulgaria and Poland from midnight on April 27.
He explained that "the gas day starts flowing at 9 o'clock." Therefore, if it is found that deliveries have been suspended, this will be announced later in the day.
At the moment, Bulgartransgaz reports that Russian gas supplies to Bulgaria have not been interrupted.
"We have provided alternative quantities for a sufficiently foreseeable period," Nikolov said. He assured that for the next month there are quantities of gas for critical facilities such as hospitals.
From the explanation of the Minister, it became clear that the reason for the suspension of supplies was the method of payment - after the war, the Russian side requires payment to be made in Rubles, the amounts being made in the contract currency (US dollars) in a Russian bank converts them into rubles.
"The two-stage payment procedure proposed by Russia poses significant risks. In practice, we would lose control over our money when paying in US dollars - since the Russian bank is responsible for converting into rubles, there is no clarity about the exchange rate," Nikolov explained.
"Obviously, natural gas is used as a political and economic weapon, from a legal and trade point of view, the Bulgarian side has no violation," he added.
"As long as I am a minister and responsible for this, Bulgaria will not negotiate under pressure and with its head bowed. Bulgaria does not give in and is not sold at any price at any trade counterparty. Natural gas supplies cannot be guaranteed, but this does not mean that Bulgaria will not be able to cope in this situation as well,” Alexander Nikolov commented.
Nikolov also commented on the supply of gas to Serbia and Hungary through the pipes passing through Bulgaria:
"Regarding Serbia and Hungary - Bulgaria is a loyal partner to all neighboring countries. Bulgaria is not Russia. When we have the opportunity, we will help all neighboring countries. We will not create artificial disturbances in neighboring countries."
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