Energy matters come together


Bulgaria has been rethinking its energy policy over the past few weeks and in the last week has made a number of significant moves.

Yesterday, Economy and Energy Minister, Delyan Dobrev, confirmed that a parliamentary committee was to be established to look at the wording of a moratorium on the extraction of shale gas.

Following demonstrations earlier in the year the government had agreed to place a moratorium on all shale gas exploration but which also included a ban on any oil and gas drilling at pressures above 20 atmospheres. The latter judgment has created problems for the normal exploration for oil and has also stopped state owned company Bulgagaz from using the Chiren gas field for storage capacity.

The committee will revue the wording of the moratorium and its implications across the sector before coming up with recommendations.

Meanwhile, last Friday, Minister Dobrev visited Moscow and negotiated a discount of 11.1% on natural gas prices from Gazprom beginning on 1st April. Part of the deal was to see an increase in the completion of the South Stream pipeline which will bring Russian gas under the Black Sea to Bulgaria and onwards into Europe.

The day before his visit to Moscow the Economy and Energy Minister also confirmed that the government was abandoning the building of a nuclear power plant in the northern town of Belene. The plant was to have been built by the Russian company Atomstroyexport. The Bulgarian government has agreed to pay for the first, nearly completed, 1,000 MW reactor and install it in the existing plant at Kozloduy.

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