Temenuzhka Petkova: A mandatory condition for energy security is the diversification of sources and routes of natural gas supply

Temenuzhka Petkova: A mandatory condition for energy security is the diversification of sources and routes of natural gas supply download this image

"A mandatory condition for the guarantee of energy security is the diversification of sources and routes of natural gas supply", Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova said at the conference "Security in Southeast Europe-New Geopolitical Dynamics", and presented Bulgarian Government’s priorities that aim to ensure energy security and independence.

According to the Energy Minister, the increase in indigenous yield and the construction of interconnections with neighbour countries are the main factors in reducing the energy dependence of our country. Petkova reminded that the tender procedure for the exploration of Blocks "Silistar" and "Teres" in deep Black Sea is still on-going. In addition, the first exploratory drilling in Block "Khan Asparuh", for which a contract was signed in 2012, is planned to take place next year.

Bulgarian Government is actively working on the interconnectivity with neighbour countries, Minister Petkova also noted. According to her, the focus of this activity is the construction of the interconnector with Greece, which should provide diversification not only of routes, but also of sources of natural gas supply for Bulgaria and the Southeast European region. Despite the unstable political situation in Greece, which has delayed the signing of the final investment decision on the project, the government hopes the signing will become possible soon after the new Greek cabinet is formed.

"By providing the opportunity of reverse gas supplies, the interconnector Bulgaria-Romania turns into a real factor contributing to the enhancement of energy security", Petkova explained. Recent technical difficulties in the construction of the two-kilometer sector under the Danube have caused delay in the commissioning of the gas pipeline. On 15th September, "Bulgartransgaz" will announce a new tender for the selection of a contractor to construct the abovementioned part of the pipeline route, since the former contractor has cancelled the assignment.

There is progress in the development of the gas interconnector project with Serbia, the Energy Minister noted. The technical design of this project is expected to be ready in the autumn before actual works begin. The interconnector Turkey-Bulgaria is defined by the Commission as one of Bulgaria’s gas projects of common interest. Thus, the feasibility study for this project managed to receive financing of 190 thousand euros under Connecting Europe Facility. The study, which will provide input on issues related to the choice of route, cost estimate, preliminary environmental impact assessment etc., is expected to be completed early next year.

"It is extremely important for us that Bulgaria is involved in three out of total seven projects determined as priority projects in the Action Plan to the Memorandum of Understanding for a common approach to tackle the challenges of diversification and security of gas supplies," Petkova told the participants in the conference. These three projects are: the interconnector Greece-Bulgaria, the interconnector Bulgaria-Serbia, and the rehabilitation and enlargement of the Bulgarian national gas transmission system. In Minister Petkova’s opinion, these projects ensure diversification of energy supply and enhance energy security.

At the conference, Minister Petkova presented the concept of the Bulgarian Government to create a gas hub on Bulgarian territory. According to the Energy Minister, the main reasons behind this idea are the strategic geographical location of our country, the well-developed national gas transmission grid with a length of about 2000 km, as well as the fact that 80% of the compressor stations in the region are on Bulgarian territory. "This is a clear sign that Bulgaria can become an irreplaceable stakeholder in the European gas market", Minister Petkova said in conclusion.

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