Bulgaria is announcing a short-term tender for liquefied natural gas (LNG) deliveries to cover the country’s shortages until December, said caretaker Deputy Energy Minister Elenko Bozhkov.
With an annual 3 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas consumption, Bulgaria was almost completely dependent from Russian supplies, which was halted in April after Gazprom’s demand for payment in rubles was not met by the former coalition government.
In July, the construction phase of the gas interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB) – connected with a number of key projects such as the TAP, TANAP and the Alexandroupolis LNG terminal – has been completed, which could bring supply diversification not only for Bulgaria but also for the entire region of South-Eastern Europe.
Once the IGB is launched, Azerbaijan’s state-owned oil and gas company Socar could supply Bulgaria with 1 bcm of gas per year, which could be increased in the next stage to 3 bcm and eventually to 5 bcm per year. However, in the short-term future Bulgaria struggles with uncertainities regarding its gas supply.
Before handing power over to the caretaker government, the former coalition cabinet received a binding offer for seven LNG cargoes from US LNG producer Cheniere Energy. The deal will be confirmed on 19 August by the next government, which is also entitled to find a better offer. Overall, three ships are expected by the end of this year and an additional four in 2023.
“There is a deficit – we are one-third short of what we need – both with the seven tankers and with the Azeri gas. We need to find additional quantities for these three months, and that is why this tender is being announced,” said Bulgarian Deputy Energy Minister Elenko Bozhkov according to BTA adding that the caretaker government knew that the contracted tankers would be there, but they did not know if, where and for what money they could be unloaded.
Therefore, the Energy Ministry will announce a tender this week for short-term supply of LNG, to ensure that Bulgaria does not depend entirely on the delivery of the seven cargoes, Mr Bozhkov added.
Nevertheless, the authorities will consider the option for the seven cargoes and the tender does not cancel any of the previous options, pointed out the Deputy Energy Minister adding that every possibility should be explored, including that of resuming deliveries from Gazprom Export.