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18.12.2013 12:16
Bulgaria Gives Mandate to the European Commission for Negotiations on South Stream

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Today's meeting on Bulgaria's energy development between energy minister Dragomir Stoinev and energy commissionaire Gunther Oettinger was rescheduled for early 2014, the Bulgarian governmental press centre announced today. Bulgaria’s development in the energy sector according to the European Commission’s (EC) guidelines was supposed to be reviewed today.

Some of the Commission’s guidelines included limiting of state interference on the liberalized energy market, completing the unbundling of the electricity grid from the national electricity company and refraining from retroactive sanctions on renewable energy producers. The construction of Gazprom-led pipeline South Stream and the bilateral agreements participating countries, among which Bulgaria, have signed for the project also attracted the attention of the EC. The Commission prescribed renegotiation of these agreements because they were in conflict with European laws.

Despite today’s meeting in Brussels between Stoinev and Oettinger being cancelled, Bulgaria’s energy minister managed to submit to Oettinger a letter by which Bulgaria’s Ministry of Economy and Energy authorises the EC to lead the negotiations with the Russian side for the future construction of South Stream in Bulgaria.

Meanwhile last week it became clear that the state-owned Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH) and Gazprom will invest BGN 195.3 million (about EUR 97.5 million) in their joint venture South Stream Bulgaria which manages the activities on the pipeline of the same name in Bulgaria. The amount which is to be imported by December 27 is aimed at increasing the capital of the company from to BGN 397.6 million.

A month ago had already injected BGN 24.4 million in South Stream Bulgaria for compensating land owners of expropriated terrains along the route of the pipeline. BEH also managed to secure a BGN 620 million loan from Gazprom in order to cover its share in the initial capital of the joint venture, payable by future dividends of BEH when gas flows through South Stream.

The joint venture is yet to restart the cancelled tender for construction and supply contractors. In November candidates complained about the short application period and the fact that all activities were tendered under one call. 

TAGS: South Stream | Bulgaria | EU | negotiations | Gazprom | energy | European Commission | unbundling | bilateral agreements | Bulgarian Energy Holding 

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