The deal will give Bulgaria access to Turkey’s LNG terminals and transit network to secure alternatives to Russian gas.

Bulgaria has signed a long-term agreement with neighboring Turkey giving it access to liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals and the gas supply network in the country as Sofia aims to replace the energy supply once provided by Russia.

Bulgaria’s state-owned gas company Bulgargaz and Turkish gas transportation company Botas signed a 13-year agreement on Tuesday stipulating that the LNG that Bulgaria will purchase on international markets will be offloaded and processed at Turkish terminals and then shipped to Bulgaria via the Botas gas network. transferred.

Bulgaria, a member of the European Union, has been almost entirely dependent on Russian gas, but is looking for alternatives after Moscow cut off deliveries in April after Sofia refused to pay in Russian rubles in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine.

“With this agreement, we ensure the possibility to buy gas from all global producers and unload it in Turkey, which is logistically convenient for Bulgaria,” said Bulgarian interim energy minister Rossen Hristov.

His Turkish counterpart Fatih Donmez said the deal would enable Bulgaria to transport about 1.5 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas per year and help increase security of supply in southeastern Europe.

Donmez said the Turkish network currently procures natural gas from a total of 15 countries.

Bulgaria aims for one bcm per year

Hristov has said Bulgaria wants to book capacity of about one bcm of gas per year at Turkish LNG terminals and sign import agreements with European and US LNG producers.

Bookings for 2023 are expected to be fewer as Bulgargaz has been winning tenders for slots at Greece’s Revithoussa LNG terminal for several months now.

For decades, Bulgaria had relied almost entirely on Russia to meet its annual needs of about three bcm of gas per year.

However, Moscow suspended deliveries to Bulgaria in April after Sofia refused to pay for gas in rubles.

Bulgaria currently covers about a third of its annual gas needs by importing one bcm of Azerbaijani gas and contracts traders to supply the rest through Greece.

Turkey imports Russian gas and Moscow has suggested establishing a hub for Russian gas in Turkey, theoretically allowing Moscow to mask its exports with fuel from other sources.

Hristov has said that Bulgaria cannot control what gas enters Bulgaria, but that Sofia will make sure it negotiates deals for LNG supplies that do not come from Russia.

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