Bulgartransgaz and Azerbaijan's SOCAR have agreed to examine opportunities and capabilities for additional gas supply routes to Bulgaria and via Bulgaria to other countries in Southeast Europe, the energy ministry in Sofia said on July 19, 2017, bulgarian Seenews reported.
«SOCAR is ready to examine the technical and commercial capacity of the existing transmission system operated by Bulgartransgaz, including its future extensions, such as by building the gas hub Balkan, for the transit of additional volumes of gas along the Southern Gas Corridor via the territory of Bulgaria to other European markets,» the energy ministry said in a statement.
The additional volumes do not include the quantities already agreed for delivery to Bulgaria as per the contract between SOCAR and gas supplier Bulgargaz signed in September 2013, the ministry added.
«Bulgaria is one of the key participants in the Southern Gas Corridor and a reliable partner in the implementation of alternative gas deliveries to Europe from the Shah Deniz field in Azerbaijan and potentially from other fields as well as from other producing countries,» Murat Heydarov, executive director of SOCAR Balkans.
In December 2014, the Bulgarian government proposed to the EC to build an EU-funded regional distribution centre dubbed gas hub Balkan near the Black Sea port of Varna to dispatch gas deliveries to the rest of Europe - to Greece, Romania, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia and, through those countries, to EU member states in central and western Europe, as well as to non-EU Serbia, Macedonia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Gas can be fed into the hub from Russia, from Bulgaria's potential deposits in the Black Sea or via interconnectors with Greece and Turkey, from the Caspian region or the Eastern Mediterranean or from the Greek and Turkish LNG terminals. The gas hub could also be supplied via an interconnector with Romania, which is estimated to have significant deposits in the Black Sea shelf.
Bulgaria imports about 90% of the natural gas it needs from Russia through a pipeline crossing the territories of Ukraine, Moldova and Romania.
In a bid to diversify its gas sources, the country has stepped up construction of gas interconnectors with its neighbours over the past few years.