Bulgaria Pushes Nabucco Forward after Talks with Turkey, Georgia

Business » ENERGY | October 4, 2010, Monday // 20:43
Bulgaria: Bulgaria Pushes Nabucco Forward after Talks with Turkey, Georgia Bulgaria and Turkey want to give the start of Nabucco with a joint section. Map by Nabucco Gas Pipeline International

Bulgaria has coordinated its position on the Nabucco gas transit pipeline with Turkey and Georgia, and will be seeking further support from the EU to accelerate the project.

This has been made clear by Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov after he met with the Prime Ministers of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and of Georgia Nikoloz Gilauri, one after the other in Sofia on Monday.

Borisov and the Bulgarian Minister of Economy, Energy, and Tourism, Traicho Traikov, who had talks with Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz, declared further their resolve to make the future pipeline (76-km long on Bulgarian territory), which is to connect the gas networks of Bulgaria and Turkey, the first operational section of the Nabucco gas transit pipeline.

"We have to find money for Nabucco. At present, there are EUR 200 M allocated from the EC for Nabucco under the EU energy recovery plan. We have had talks with EU Commissioner for Energy Guenther Oettinger in order to request that EUR 60-65 M of these be used for the construction of the gas pipeline link between Bulgaria and Turkey which is part of the Nabucco pipeline," Borisov explained after his meeting with Georgian PM Gilauri.

He pointed out that Bulgarian Finance Minister Djankov and Economy and Energy Minister Traikov will be insisting on including the question about Nabucco's financing in the agenda of the respective European Councils of Ministers that they are part of.

"We have coordinated our positions on Nabucco with Turkey and Georgia. If we take a loan to build the gas pipeline to Turkey, this means that we will have to add hundreds of millions of EUR to our budget deficit. Finance Minister Djankov will never allow that. If what I have heard from all EU member states' leaders that Nabucco is a priority, we will be asking the EU for funding specially for that so that we don't suffer any losses," said Borisov.

Bulgarian Economy Minister Traikov reminded that under the EU energy recovery Bulgaria is receiving money for connecting its gas network (which is currently only to connected to Russia's via Ukraine and Romania) to those of Greece and Romania as well.

"EUR 200 M have been allocated for Nabucco by the EC. There are six shareholders in the project, including the state companies of Bulgaria and Turkey. This makes EUR 33 M each. Bulgaria and Turkey want to speed up the construction of Nabucco using their shares of the EUR 200 M as shareholders. Thus, instead of building a small and cheap pipe quickly that will become obsolete once Nabucco starts running, Bulgaria and Turkey want to invest into a proper pipe with Nabucco's parameters that can then become part of the pan-European pipeline," explained the Bulgarian economy minister.

Turkey is expect to come up with a specific proposal about the construction of the 76-km pipeline in question within 2-3 weeks. After that, Bulgaria and Turkey will submit a joint concept for what is expected to become a future Nabucco section to the EC.

According to Traikov, incorporating the Bulgaria-Turkey pipe in Nabucco has three major advantages: a joint application for a share from the EUR 200 M allocated under the energy recovery plan of the EC; giving a symbolic start of Nabucco by creating its first operational section; and saving money from having to construct one pipe now, and another later, if Nabucco is realized separately. What is more, this first supposed section of Nabucco will have an impact on energy security in the region by itself.

Turkey's Energy Minister Yildiz Taner has confirmed his country's desire to accelerate the realization of the pipeline to Bulgaria and of Nabucco.

Bulgargaz and the Turkish company Botas have agreed to exchange information and data in order to boost their coordination on the projects in question, which will allow Bulgaria to receive gas from the Caspian region via Georgia and Turkey even before the start of Nabucco.

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Tags: Nabucco, gas transit, gas transit pipeline, pipeline, natural gas, turkey, Georgia, Nikoloz "Nika" Gilauri, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Boyko Borisov, EU, EC, Bulgaria-Turkey pipeline, Traicho Traikov, Economy Minister, Taner Yildiz, Prime Minister
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