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09.05.2014 13:34
Amendments to the Bulgarian Energy Act Pushed by Gazprom, Evidence Suggests
The Reformist Block unveiled evidence from official papers signed between the Bulgarian Energy Holding and Gazprom which suggests that amendments exempting the marine part of South Stream from the Third energy package were forged outside Bulgaria

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The Reformist Block, a democratic formation gathering prominent political figures of Bulgarian right-wing, released information to Bulgarian media, suggesting contracts andprotocols signed between the state-owned Bulgarian Energy Holding and Russia’s Gazprom prove that South Stream is envisaged to be built solely according to Bulgarian legislation, thus evading the third party access rules of the EU. The political formation said it was granted access to a number of papers, protocols and letters by the court according to the Access to Public Information Act.

The term "sea pipeline", referring to the Black Sea stretch of South Stream landing on Bulgarian soil at Varna, which found its way in Bulgarian legislation, was also proposed by South Stream Transport b.v., correspondence obtained by the Reformist Block showed. The formulation “sea pipeline” was then pushed in amendments to the Energy act by Bulgarian Socialist Party MPs Yavor Kuymdzhiev and Tasko Ermenkov in February 2013. This formulation is not present within the European directive on gas markets, so it should not comply with the rules of 3rd party access. The definition of an interconnector pipeline is modified to describe “a gas transport pipeline which traverses the border or lies on the territories of two EU member-countries with the sole purpose to connect their gas transport systems”. If the changes pass second reading, South Stream will have a similar statute as gas interconnectors, exempting it from 3rd party access rules of the EU. These amendments however are yet to pass a second reading and would most likely be a topic of discussion between Bulgaria’s energy minister Dragomir Stoinev and energy commissionaire Guenther Oettinger. Stoinev has already been asked to provide crucial information to the EC. After a meeting between the two of them, the commissionaire’s office issued a statement insisting that the Third Energy Package applies to all gas infrastructure on the territory of the EU, including in Bulgarian waters.

“The Reformist Block has considerable doubts that the amendments to the Bulgarian Energy Act have been forged outside the country by Russian influence circles. It is clear that they are meant to serve private interests. They will further deepen [Bulgaria’s] dependency on foreign [energy imports] and thus will keep electricity, gas and central heating prices high”, the Reformist Block alarmed in its open letter to the media.

TAGS: South Stream | Bulgaria | Gazprom | South Stream Transport b.v. | Energy Act | legislation | amendment | third energy package | energy | natural gas | Bulgarian Energy Holding | Reformist Block 

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20.03.2022  Teodor Bobochikov, Managing Partner, V-Ridium
Energy Transformation – Trends and drivers
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