Thursday, February 23, 2017

Bulgaria Gas Group says Gets EU Funds for Gas Hub Study

Posted by February 17, 2017

Bulgaria's gas network operator Bulgartransgaz said it will get financing from the European Union for a feasibility study on a natural gas hub at the Black Sea port of Varna to store and transport Russian and Caspian gas to southeast and central Europe.

Sofia's plans for the hub follow the cancellation of Gazprom's South Stream gas pipeline project that would have shipped Russian gas under the Black Sea via Bulgaria to central Europe. The cancellation was a blow to Bulgaria, which relies almost exclusively on Russian gas.
The country hopes the new gas hub would keep Russian gas flowing through its territory on its way to central Europe.

The hub, estimated to cost 1.5 billion euros ($1.60 billion), would use existing pipelines, interconnector links Bulgaria is building with Romania, Greece, Turkey and Serbia and eventually an undersea pipeline from Russia.

"The European Commission will extend half of the funds needed for the feasibility study or 920,000 euros ($979,800), Bulgartransgaz said in a statement.

Russia has made no commitments to provide gas for Bulgaria's hub project and its scope would be limited it if failed to attract any gas from Russia. Moscow has said it would consider the hub only if it has guarantees that the project would not run counter to EU energy rules.

The Balkan country, which still gets almost all of its gas via one route from Russia, will receive another 360,000 euros to overhaul its natural gas network from the EU, Bulgartransgaz said.

(Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova)

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