Bulgaria, Bulgargaz sought excuse to get rid of Russian gas

, SEE Energy News

A Parliamentary Ad Hoc Committee, established to investigate the circumstances that led to Gazprom cutting off natural gas supply to Bulgaria in April, has concluded that gas supplier Bulgargaz provided manipulative information about its communication with Gazprom and only sought an excuse to get rid of Russian gas.

According to the committee’s findings, the decision to not service the contract with Gazprom after payment terms were changed by Russia, was not taken after careful consideration and a broad public consensus and support. The committee claims that the alternative supplies via intermediaries are much more expensive than supply from Russia and the manner in which traders were selected is non-transparent with vague rules and criteria, while only a limited circle of traders were invited to bid.

The committee has also found that Bulgargaz reports gas is still drawn from the underground storage facility in Chiren and parallel with that gas is injected into the facility, bought from intermediaries at much higher prices. Cheap gas from the storage facility is drawn and replaced with gas that is twice more expensive, which puts a price risk for the Bulgarian gas market and especially for the heating utilities during the next season.

The committee warned that there are data about the worsening of the financial situation at Bulgargaz from February which poses real risks, including payments for Azeri gas supply, the implementation of the contracts with clients, and licenses for trade in natural gas in Bulgaria and Greece.

However, the Parliament did not adopt the committee’s report.