Caretaker Minister of Energy Rossen Hristov said that, under its “take or pay” gas supply contract with Gazprom Export, Bulgaria will have to take at least 80 % of the agreed 3 billion cubic meters of gas by the end of the year, regardless of whether the quantity will be used or not.
He said that, so far, Bulgaria has taken around 1 billion cubic meters of gas, and not taking the remainder could lead to an arbitration procedure with Gazprom, where Bulgaria risks losing dozens of millions of euros.
Minister Hristov stressed that the last thing Bulgaria needs now is to go to arbitration with a potentially negative outcome. He said that a few days ago trade unions and employers’ organizations assured him that getting natural gas at affordable prices is of key importance to Bulgaria’s economy.
A simulation of the pricing formula set in the present contract with Gazprom Export showed that the price of Russian gas is the second lowest after Azeri gas. By comparison, the two LNG cargoes negotiated by the previous Government, which are to be unloaded at Greek Revythoussa terminal in September, are 50 % more expensive compared to gas supplied by Gazprom.
Bulgaria can get the cheap gas it needs under the long-term contract with Gazprom Export. However, Minister Hristov did not rule out negotiations with other gas suppliers at competitive prices. Talks are underway with traders from Turkey and Saudi Arabia. If the Government manages to agree gas supplies at affordable prices from other sources, contracts will be signed.