North Macedonia, ESM buys gas for February from Bulgaria’s Balkan Utilities at a price of EUR 98.71 per MWh

, SEE Energy News

The Bulgarian company Balkan Utilites will continue to supply natural gas to Macedonian power plants, ESM, in February as well. The contract provides for the supply of up to 3,500 MWh of gas. This company was paid more than one million euros for the gas delivered in January.

At the ESM tender for February, the offer of the Bulgarian company Aktael arrived, with a price of 99.83 euros per MWh, while Balkan Utilites offered a fixed price of 98.71 euros per MWh.

This purchase will fully cover the needs for natural gas for the production of thermal energy in the heating plants Istok, Zapad, Energetika and Skoplje Sever, as well as other consumers of natural gas in the country, ESM Prodaja announced.

Macedonian media reports that the Bulgarian company Aktael, which participated in the tender for the purchase of natural gas, does not have a license to work in Macedonia, but only a license for the Bulgarian market. The Bulgarian Regulatory Commission issued Aktael a license on June 23, 2022.

This means that the company does not meet the conditions for participation in the ESM tender, which was originally supposed to end on January 24, but was extended by one day without explanation.

This is just one of the doubts that appeared after ESM Prodaja informed the public in a statement that the gas for February will be provided by the company Balkan Utilites, which also won the tender for the delivery of gas in January. The gas purchased from this company in January cost the Macedonian state more than one million euros.

According to estimates, ESM’s costs could be reduced if it purchased gas at stock market prices.

The Macedonian company Makpetrol announced that it did not submit a bid because it did not want to be a front in the tender where only one company is favored.

Makpetrol Prom-Gas announced to the local media that last week it sold gas at a price of 71 euros per MWh.

It is also interesting that Aktael did not lease capacity from the Bulgarian operator Bulgartransgaz, which is necessary if it intends to transport gas to Macedonia.

Macedonian media remind that in July 2022, the Bulgarian company Aktael sold a block transformer for REK Bitolj to ESM for almost 6.5 million euros. Despite the fact that it is a purchase of great value, the tender for this purchase was not carried out, but the agreement was reached through direct negotiations.

The company was late with the delivery, which resulted in delaying the start of operation of the third unit of REK Bitolj. For this delay, the state will have to pay a penalty in the amount of around 200 thousand euros, and in the meantime it was forced to import electricity, which cost over 40 million euros.

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