Bulgaria wanted gas
Next year Bulgaria intends to assess the economic feasibility of the construction project in the port of Varna of a distribution center for natural gas. The center will cost around 1,5 billion euros. It could serve for the storage and transportation of gas from the Russian Federation and the Caspian region to South-Eastern and Central Europe, reports Mixednews.ru with reference to the site maritime-executive.com.
A new plan for the Bulgarians arose after Gazprom canceled the South Stream gas pipeline project (it reminds the publication that it had to send gas along the Black Sea through Bulgaria to Central Europe). The cancellation of the South Stream project was a real blow to Sofia: after all, Bulgaria consumes almost exclusively gas from Russia.
The proposed gas transmission hub would allow Bulgaria to use both the gas pipeline branches that it builds with Greece, Serbia, Romania and Turkey, and the underwater gas pipeline from Russia.
True, Sofia has no money. Bulgarians are hoping for funds from foreign investors. If investors were found, the construction of the site would start ... in 2021 year.
Bulgaria hopes to make an investment decision on the center in 2020. It is ready to offer investors up to fifty percent of the shares of this company, said the head of Bulgartransgaz, Georgy Gegov.
But it's not just investors. Like it or not, and without Russia, the project does not work. However, without the consent of the European Union and other interested forces and parties, it also will not work. Politics is everywhere ahead of the economy. And somehow it happened that the unfortunate Bulgarians are tight on all sides, and as a result they have neither money nor gas.
Therefore, Prime Minister Boyko Borisov called on Brussels to participate in a meeting with Russia and help advance the gas distribution project. Borisov made rather sharp statements. He told the meeting of investors that this time it is impossible to “allow to bypass Bulgaria”. And he said to the European Commission: "That is why you must help us and help speed up the work."
A little more, and Borisov would have ordered the European Commissioners to take up welding machines and begin to lay pipes in the direction of Bulgaria.
And what about Russia? Is Borisov sure that she will be able to convince of the expediency of the new initiative? After all, for this, Moscow should be persuaded to lay a gas pipeline along the seabed to Bulgaria. That is, the Kremlin must believe that the Bulgarians have now become much more compliant and that the time has come to plan Russian gas supplies to Central Europe through the proposed distribution hub. At the same time, the Kremlin must somehow believe that the European Commission will also become more compliant. This is at the time of endlessly prolonged sanctions!
Recall, precisely because of the inflexible position of European commissioners, Moscow refused to “Yuzhny”. In fact, he was replaced by the "Turkish Stream". And the Bulgarians, who whispered in their ears, not only the European Commissioners, but also the US Senator McCain (where America is, and where Bulgaria is!), Remained at the bottom of the trough.
In fact, the amazing initiatives of a poor Bulgaria, which, in fact, has not only money, but even estimates of such a project, are caused by recent Russian and Turkish statements about the revival of the Turkish Stream.
Following the August meeting between Putin and Erdogan, the resumption of work on the Turkish Stream was announced, reminds RBC. President Erdogan made a promise to pay half the cost of building the land part of the pipeline. 4 September, the Minister of Economic Development of Russia Alexei Ulyukayev said that the parties had moved to discuss the details of the construction of the pipeline.
September 7 evening Interfax gave one more news on this topic: Gazprom through diplomatic channels received the first permission from the Turkish authorities to implement the Turkish Stream project.
According to Alexey Miller, the Turkish side’s move reflects Ankara’s interest in the project and indicates the transition to its implementation.
Earlier, Interfax also reported on the talks held last week by Mr. Miller and the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources of the Republic of Turkey Berat Albayrak. The parties agreed on the early completion of all preparatory procedures for the start of the project.
In addition, 2 of September, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak reported that the road map for the Turkish Stream project is scheduled to be completed in October, notes "Lenta.ru". The signing of an intergovernmental agreement may take place several months later.
However, with the "Turkish Stream" is also not all smooth.
Two questions hinder his progress: about the rather big discount on gas, which the Turks demand, and about the capacity of the gas pipeline.
“There are no problems with the first thread of the Turkish Stream, its construction can be started,” said Taner Yildyz, who was the Minister of Energy of Turkey at that time, in August last year. “I hope that Russia will not delay the signing of an agreement on a gas discount in the amount of 10,25%.” According to Yildiz, who leads Gazeta.ru, such a discount would allow Turkey to save annually about 1 billion.
But to the unofficial data, the edition reminds, the Turks wanted to get a discount not even 10,25, but all 15%. Russian “Gazprom” agreed only on 6%. It came to an arbitration dispute: the parties are now awaiting the decision of the international arbitration on the claim of the Turkish company Botas: it filed it because of Gazprom’s unwillingness to lower prices. The newspaper does not exclude that, since the “Turkish Stream” has moved from a dead center, the issue with a discount will also be resolved.
And the second question: about the power of the pipeline. Earlier, Gazprom announced 4 threads of the Turkish Stream. However, currently only two are talked about (and this is the maximum). As Mr. Novak reported earlier, the first branch (for Turkish consumers) may be launched in the 2019 year.
“In the current situation, it’s too early to talk about the construction of a second branch,” Aleksey Grivach, deputy head of the National Energy Security Foundation, quotes Gazeta.ru. “First we need to get guarantees that gas will be in demand in the European Union.”
In addition, we would add, it would be nice to get assurances that the European Union will not put sticks in the wheels of this project either for a couple with the ubiquitous US. Yes, Turkey is not Sophia, and Erdogan is unlikely to listen to any McCain "neosultan" Erdogan. However, everything connected with European consumers and some market players suspected of a “monopoly” position, in one way or another, concerns the European Commission.
There is also a special factor - Ukraine, for which Europe is also cheering. Gazprom’s contracts with it end at the end of 2019. And the position of Gazprom regarding their extension (or termination) is completely incomprehensible. The construction of the Turkish Stream will certainly hit Ukraine, depriving it of transit revenues. Europe has repeatedly stated that the Ukrainian transit of Russian gas should be preserved, that is, supported Kiev. If only Brussels does not deny its support for Kiev (which is unlikely), then the construction of the second branch of the Turkish Stream is unlikely to take place: this branch will be hacked into the EU. The Europeans who support Ukraine simply will not give Gazprom guarantees that gas from Russia transported via the Turkish Stream will be in demand. In the absence of such guarantees, no one in his mind would pull the gas pipeline.
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