Parvanov, Gul: Bulgaria, Turkey to Secure Plenty of Gas for Nabucco
Bulgaria and Turkey are going to use their contacts to secure more natural gas for the Nabucco gas than the future European gas transit pipeline needs, according to Presidents Georgi Parvanov and Abdullah Gul.
Turkey's President Gul arrived on a two-day visit to Bulgaria on Monday, and his first meeting was with his Bulgarian counterpart Parvanov.
“Bulgaria through its contacts has reached agreements with Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and some other countries that are potential sources of natural gas for Nabucco. Turkey's contacts with these and other countries are even more intensive, which is why Bulgaria and Turkey are key in securing the necessary quantities of natural gas for Nabucco, and even a lot more than the 31 billion cubic meters of gas than its currently planned annual capacity,” Bulgaria's head of state Parvanov stated at his joint news conference with Gul.
The Turkish President supported Parvanov's words about Bulgaria and Turkey's key role for finding enough gas for Nabucco, the EU-sponsored pipeline project whose future has been questioned precisely because it has been unclear if enough suppliers can be found to fuel it.
The future of the Nabucco project was one of the priority topics discussed by Parvanov and Gul.
The legal framework for the Nabucco gas pipeline was finalized in early June 2011 as the five transit countries - Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Turkey – have signed Project Support Agreements (PSAs) with the Nabucco Consortium.
The signing of the Project Support Agreements (PSAs) between NABUCCO Gas Pipeline International GmbH and the responsible ministries of the five transit countries took place in Kayseri, Turkey.
In spite of the new progress, in May 2011, Nabucco Gas Pipeline International GmbH pushed back the start of construction of its EUR 7.9 B pipeline to carry Caspian natural gas to Europe to 2013; thus, Nabucco is now expected to start operations in 2017 instead of 2015, as previously expected.
Speaking on Monday, Parvanov has also focused on another energy project between Bulgaria and Turkey – he has insisted on the speeding up the construction of the gas interconnection between the supply networks of the two countries. He has described this interconnection not just as a very important lifeline for getting gas supplies in the event of international crises such as the 2009 gas war between Russia and Ukraine, but also as a means of receiving the natural gas quantities that Bulgaria has negotiated with Azerbaijan.
The Bulgarian President further proposed the holding of a meeting between the heads of the natural gas companies of Bulgaria, Turkey, and Azerbaijan – Bulgargaz, Botas, and SOCAR.
In June 2011, Bulgaria's Economy Minister Traicho Traikov announced that the Bulgarian government is no longer trying to make the future gas interconnection between Bulgaria and Turkey a section of the EU-sponsored gas transit pipeline Nabucco.
The gas pipeline connecting the natural gas networks of Bulgaria and Turkey could be ready by 2014, and through which Bulgaria could be receiving up to 5 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year, Traikov told the Bulgarian Parliament in late June.
Back in 2010, he was convinced that the future Bulgaria-Turkey gas interconnection would become "the first operational section" of the Nabucco pipeline. The idea was endorsed in the fall of 2010 by the Prime Ministers of Bulgaria and Turkey Boyko Borisov and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the rationale being that the two countries could thus be entitled to use EU funds for the missing gas network link.
However, the Bulgarian government has admitted that the Bulgarian Economy Ministry is no longer pursuing this project – which means that the Bulgaria-Turkey gas interconnection will not coincide with Nabucco's pipe – because this would make the launching of the Bulgaria-Turkey pipe "expensive and slow."
Bulgaria's decision to give up on merging of Nabucco and the Bulgaria-Turkey pipeline comes after in May 2011, Nabucco Gas Pipeline International GmbH pushed back the start of construction to 2013, which means that the pipe can start operations in 2017 at the earliest.
Traikov's announcement in June about the gas interconnection with Turkey came a day after his meeting with his counterpart from Azerbaijan Natiq Aliyev, who confirmed that Azerbaijan can start shipping to Bulgaria about 1 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year as soon as the gas links between Bulgaria and Turkey, and Bulgaria and Greece are completed.
Also in June, Bulgaria's state-owned gas company Bulgargaz replaced the CEO of its subsidiary Bulgartransgaz, one of the major arguments for the change being the need to speed up the construction of the Bulgaria-Turkey gas pipe.
The working group of the Bulgarian government has concluded that the best option for the Bulgaria-Turkey gas interconnection would be if it is built by Bulgartransgaz and Turkey's state company Botas.
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