Bulgaria decided to impose a tax on Russian gas supplied through the BalkanStream pipeline to central Europe. The new legislation introduces a tax of 10.5 euros per MWh of natural gas transited through the country. The fee makes up 20% of the current cost of gas futures at the TTF hub, Europe’s gas benchmark.
Until 2022, Russian Gazprom was one of the key suppliers of pipeline gas to Bulgaria. However, after the local authorities refused to pay for supplied gas in rubles, direct exports to Bulgaria were halted.
While Bulgaria no longer imports gas from Russia for domestic use, it has remained one of the few routes for its delivery to the EU after flows diminished due to war in Ukraine and the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipeline.
About half of Russian pipeline gas destined for the EU currently goes through Bulgaria, entering via the TurkStream pipeline. Experts warn that Bulgaria’s new tax could jeopardize supplies to a number of countries in southeastern Europe, including Hungary and Serbia, which continue to rely on Russia for most of their gas needs. Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto called the measure unacceptable, adding that both Hungary and Serbia are already taking steps to ensure that Bulgaria cannot apply the legislation to their gas imports.