In 2024: Bulgaria will give up the Derogation for Russian Oil

Politics | September 28, 2023, Thursday // 16:25
Bulgaria: In 2024: Bulgaria will give up the Derogation for Russian Oil

From October 1, 2024, Bulgaria will renounce the possibility of importing Russian oil, which was allowed by the European Commission as an exception to the sanctions against Russia. The exception is valid until the end of next year, and initially the project provided for Bulgaria to stop importing Russian oil within a month. However, during the second reading in the economic commission on Wednesday, it was accepted that this should be done after 1 year because of the arguments that the refinery in Burgas should smoothly switch to processing non-Russian oil.

BSP MP Rumen Gechev has asked several times on what basis Bulgaria is renouncing a right given to it, which will lead to an increase in fuel prices. This thesis was also supported by Toshko Yordanov from "There Is Such a People", who accused the importers of not knowing the prices at gas stations because they are scooterists. The promoters of the project are Boyko Borissov, Kiril Petkov, Hristo Ivanov, Delyan Peevski, Delyan Dobrev, Desislava Atanasova, Mustafa Karadayi and Ivaylo Mirchev.

The deputies also agreed to appoint a special sales representative at the Lukoil Neftohim Burgas refinery, who will supervise its activities. He is expected to be appointed by the Council of Ministers by presidential decree, as he will be responsible for the country's critical infrastructure, which is part of national security. He will work for a period of six months, and after the expiration of his term, he will be able to be reappointed once for another six months.

For hours, MPs from the non-importer parties accused the government that, after voluntarily renouncing a right granted by the EU, they were clearly protecting corporate interests.

The only change that the deputies accepted today compared to the texts approved by the commission yesterday, concerns the proposal to store 100% of the country's oil reserves in Bulgaria. Currently, this requirement refers to 80%, which is also a requirement in a European directive. After a debate, the current decision was maintained, and Rumen Gechev, who was among the most active speakers today, pointed out that if it is assumed that the entire reserve is in the country, there will not be enough stock, and there is no way that "Lukoil" will be obliged to build new ones, which is expensive. He compared the situation to if the importer of Mercedes was obliged to provide space to the importer of Toyota.

During the debates, the proponents were identified as neo-Trotskyists, although they claim to be democrats, and Borislav Gutsanov from BSP expressed surprise that such a project was submitted to the National Assembly at all. In response, Ivaylo Mirchev from "We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria" stated that the ruling majority wants "Lukoil" to pay its taxes. He announced that last year the company received compensation for the expensive electricity in the amount of 140 million leva.

He also reminded that a year ago the difference in the stock exchange prices of the Urals and Brent varieties was 25%, but this difference was not calculated in the final prices paid by citizens and, accordingly, in the budget through taxes, but in the budget of Russia. "We want this money to enter the Bulgarian budget", he emphasized.

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Tags: Bulgaria, Russian, oil, Lukoil
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