EC Sues Bulgaria, Romania over Natural Gas Market Access

Politics » BULGARIA IN EU | November 24, 2011, Thursday // 16:29
EC Sues Bulgaria, Romania over Natural Gas Market Access The EC headquarters in Brussels. File photo

The European Commission is starting a court suit against Bulgaria and Romania for failing to obey the natural gas market rules of the EU, the EC Representation in Sofia announced.

The Commission believes that Bulgaria has failed to create the necessary capacity for reverse natural gas transit at all gas interconnections, which is a necessary prerequisite for new companies to receive access to the local natural gas network, the EC Representation in Sofia explained Thursday.

"Trans-border trade can be performed only if all participants in the market have equal access to the natural gas distribution networks of the consumers, which requires that the market offers a maximum networking capacity. It is of utmost importance for all participants in the market to provide reliable and transparent information about the capacity of the gas network," the EC stated.

"Bulgaria's failure to obey the EU gas market access rules means that consumers are devoid of the opportunity have offers from other EU member states since Bulgaria's natural gas transit network is not sufficiently integrated with that of the other countries," the Commission said further.

It stresses explicitly Bulgaria and Romania's insufficient reverse transit capacities and relevant short-term services.

The Commission also notes that in Romania the operator of the gas transit network has not complied in full with the EU transparency requirements, which leads to the lack of information about the free capacities to reduce the competitiveness on the gas market, and to hamper the access of new participants.

The EC does note a certain progress on part of the Bulgarian government in rectifying the situation but it deems it insufficient, which has moved it to refer the case to the EU Court.

Bulgaria's government has recently accelerated the work on the completion of its natural gas transit interconnections with Greece, Romania, Serbia, and Turkey, whose construction is mostly funded with EU; for the time being, however, those are expected to be completed in 2013-2014.

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Tags: natural gas, EU Court of Justice, network, Romania, rules, gas market, Bulgaria, EC, Interconnection Greece-Bulgaria, Bulgaria-Serbia gas interconnection, Bulgaria-Romania gas interconnection, Bulgaria-Turkey pipeline, European Commission, gas transit, gas transit pipeline, gas transmission grid

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