Foreign Minister: Bulgaria vulnerable to gas deliveries crises

Bulgaria’s Foreign Minister Roumyana Zheleva said on November 2 that the country was still vulnerable to a suspension of natural gas deliveries in case of a new dispute between Russia and Ukraine.

Zheleva participated in a seminar in Sofia titled Energy diplomacy and integrated European policy on energy and climate change.

Asked whether Bulgaria should brace for another halt to gas deliveries, Zheleva said: “We should always be expecting [future problems] given that we are 100 per cent dependent on deliveries from abroad.”

“The forecast is for a warm winter, but we must be careful and remember last winter, which should serve as a launch pad for rapid implementation of new energy projects,” she said, as quote by Bulgarian news agency BTA.

In January 2009, a price row between Moscow and Kiev resulted in the complete halt of gas deliveries through pipelines transiting Ukraine. For two weeks, gas rationing had to be imposed for Bulgarian firms, while heating utilities had to switch to burning alternative fuels.

Sofia’s attempts to receive compensation from either Russia or Ukraine for the losses incurred, which one employer organisation claimed to be as high 500 million leva, were not successful.

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