Bulgaria to Deplete Natural Gas Reserves by 2013 - Report

Business » ENERGY | September 25, 2012, Tuesday // 17:46
Bulgaria: Bulgaria to Deplete Natural Gas Reserves by 2013 - Report Bulgaria's state co Bulgargaz is set to deplete 55% of the reserves at the Chiren storage facility by Jan 2013. Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria will end up with a shortage of natural gas by January 2013, as its state company Bulgargaz plans to use over half of the amount in its storage facility in Chiren, a report says.

The report was provided by the Bulgarian information agency BTA, citing sources from Tuesday's discussion about the natural gas price in Bulgaria in Q4 2012 held at the State Commission for Energy and Water Regulation (DKEVR).

According to the report, in order to take full advantage of the 11% discount in natural gas prices that Russia's Gazprom provided to the Bulgarian government for the period until the end of 2012, Bulgargaz will be ordering less natural gas from other suppliers or intermediaries demanding a higher price, and will be using a greater amount of gas from Bulgaria's only storage facility than it usually does.

The Chiren storage facility at present has about 380 million cubic meters of natural gas; by the end of 2012, Bulgargaz plans to draw 210 million cubic meters, or 55% of the total amount, from there; thus, in January, Bulgaria will end up with a shortage in its gas reserves.

According DKEVR head Angel Semerdzhiev, the depletion of the Bulgarian natural gas reserve will not be a problem once the government signs its new supply contract with Russia's Gazprom.

Semerdzhiev has pointed out that Bulgargaz has run a loss of BGN 250 M because it has been selling natural gas to Bulgarian consumers cheaper than it has been buying it from Russia.

"We all hope that at the beginning of 2013 Bulgargaz will have such prices for Bulgarian consumers that it will be able to cover much of the loss," he said.

In his words, the depletion of the Chiren facility is part of Bulgargaz's policy because it will be able to use cheaper gas; at the same time, he expects that the new supply contracts with Gazprom will offer Bulgaria even cheaper gas.

Semerdzhiev said Bulgaria's heating utilities could use alternative fuels so even in the event of a natural gas shortage there would not be a problem with the heating in the winter.

During its meeting on Wednesday, DKEVR is expected to approve a 0.67% reduction in the price of natural gas in Bulgaria as of October 1, 2012.

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Tags: natural gas, gas supplies, storage facility, Chiren, DKEVR, State Commission for Energy and Water Regulation, Angel Semerdzhiev, Russia, Gazprom, Bulgargaz
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