Bulgarian Energy Min Ecstatic about South Stream
Bulgaria's benefits from the Russian-sponsored South Stream gas pipeline project amounts to approximately BGN 1.5 B in dividends only, says the Minister of Economy and Energy Dragomir Stoynev.
Speaking in an interview for the public TV, BNT, he stressed that after difficult negotiations, the government managed to protect Bulgaria's national interest and has inked the best possible conditions for the country in the project.
The construction of the Bulgarian section of the South Stream gas pipeline was officially launched on Thursday after a meeting in Sofia of over four hours between he CEO of Russian energy giant Gazprom, Alexei Miller, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria Plamen Oresharski, the Minister of Economy and Energy of Bulgaria, Dragomir Stoynev, and the Energy Minister of the Russian Federation, Alexander Novak.
"Transit fees were negotiated so that Bulgaria cannot lose anything. Now we only gain. By 2030 the country will receive 90% of transit fees, whether or not there is gas," the Minister added in the TV interview.
Stoynev focused on the agreed financial parameters for the construction of the pipeline, explaining the project will not be funded by Bulgarian taxpayers and the country will not make any financial commitments, while the interest rate has been cut in half - from 8% to 4.25%.
He expects approximately BGN 5 B to enter the budget in the form of taxes and social security.
"This is a huge success because at the same time we have security of natural gas supplies," the Minister added. He stressed that no government has achieved such great results so far.
"The implementation of South Stream will move our entire economy; will ensure supply of natural gas and we will not be dependent on any geopolitical conflicts," he said.
According to him, the project is an investment that will guarantee work for Bulgarian companies. Preliminary estimates are for 5 000 new job openings in regions with high unemployment.
Stoynev noted work on the diversification of energy supplies continues through interconnections with neighboring countries.
According to the Minister, the government is doing everything possible for the good of the Bulgarian nation.
"Everyone makes mistakes, but they are immediately corrected," stressed he.
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