November 2019, Vol. 246, No. 11


Bulgaria Signs up Saudi-Led Group for TurkStream Extension

Bulgaria’s state gas company signed a $1.2 billion (1.1 billion euro) contract with Saudi-led group Arkad to build a gas pipeline to carry mainly Russian natural gas. 

The Balkan country is rushing to build the 295-mile (474-km) pipeline linking its southern border with Turkey to its western border with Serbia to secure a link to the Russian-backed TurkStream pipeline to Serbia, Hungary and Austria.

Russia, which is building the TurkStream to bypass Ukraine to the south, said in July that its second leg, with an annual capacity of 15.75 Bcm will pass via Bulgaria to central Europe.

“This is the so-called Balkan Stream,” Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said at signing of the contract held by state gas group Bulgartransgaz.

“We will win from transit fees, this pipeline will remain Bulgarian once it is paid off and mainly our neighbors from North Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary will have alternative gas.”

Most of the pipes for the project had already been delivered to Bulgarian ports and Sofia wants to have the first 191 miles (308 km) of the pipeline ready by January, a timetable which many industry observers say will be extremely hard to achieve, Reuters said.

Borissov said that the pipeline, along with a gas interconnector with Greece will keep Bulgaria on the gas map and not be bypassed by all major routes in southeastern Europe.

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