The European Commission has given approval for the construction of the “Balkan” gas hub, which should be built in Bulgaria. At the conference for investors, which took place in Varna, Bulgaria, Prime Minister Boyko Borisov said that the approval lays the ground for negotiations to begin for collecting maximum amounts of natural gas.
He stressed that while the EU was indebted to Bulgaria for supply of natural gas, Bulgaria had been loyal and disciplined in fulfilling EU requirements, but added,
” We will not allow Bulgaria to be surrounded and its veto will be used.”
Borisov went on to point out that in recent years Bulgaria has made substantial investments in the modernization of its transmission network and increased capacity increased by 15 billion Cubic Meters per year and the country remains a lucrative partner for all those are interested in the transit of natural gas throughout Europe.
Bulgaria is also in a strategic position for the gas hub center, said the Prime Minister.
“If the country fails to implement the project and remains with its existing gas connection with Greece – we will again remain dependent”, added the Bulgarian Prime Minister in Varna, but repeated his wish for the country to become a major player in the transportation of gas in the region of import.
Bulgaria expects trilateral meetings –between the European Commission, Bulgaria and anyone who is willing to participate in the gas hub.
Interest has shown by Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Iran, as well as the United States and Russia announced the Bulgarian Prime Minister. He pointed out that so far negotiations with the Russians on the gas hub were not underway due to the project being at the conceptual design stage and had not yet been approved by Brussels.
Borisov called on the European Commission to ensure strict enforcement of EU rules with regards to Greece should Russia decided to import gas into Europe through the “Turkish Stream”. The original idea behind the pipeline was that gas would go to the Turkish market and also to the European market via a gas hub located the Turkish-Greek border.
The Executive Director of “Bulgartransgas” George Gegov stated at the conference that four options were being prepared for the project and its funding.
The “Balkan” gas hub aims to promote connectivity of all sources of gas in the South East Europe region, said today the Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister for European Funds and Economic Policy, Tomislav Donchev at the opening of the roundtable event.
According to him, the project is not competitive with other gas hubs under consideration or under construction at the moment.
Donchev explained that there were a few sources of gas to the center hub – Russian gas through the new pipeline or from existing Balkan pipelines (in Ukraine and Romania), or from the Caspian region, or liquefied gas terminals from Greece and Turkey, as well as from its own production.