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Bulgaria and Greece want to make joint gas purchases to reduce their dependence on Russia

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Last week, Gazprom completely stopped deliveries of natural gas to Poland and Bulgaria, in the absence of payments in rubles from the two countries for the delivery of fuel. Russian President Vladimir Putin has called on countries he described as “unfriendly” after the invasion of Ukraine to implement a scheme in which they will open a Gazprombank account to make payments in euros or dollars for imports. natural gas, and these funds will be converted into Russian rubles.

More than 90% of Bulgaria’s natural gas is imported from Russia.

According to the quoted source, Sofia, supported by the European Commission, is working to improve regional cooperation, which would include better use of gas and electricity infrastructure, as well as joint gas purchases at EU level to reduce dependence on Russian imports.

Sofia is currently hosting an EU task force to monitor gas supplies to the region, and the first meeting took place on Thursday. It also hosts a forum on energy issues, attended by officials from Greece, Romania, Turkey, Serbia, Northern Macedonia, Ukraine and Azerbaijan, Agerpres reports.

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Bulgaria, which currently transports Russian gas to Serbia and Hungary, can also transport more than 20 billion cubic meters of gas annually through the northern gas network to the rest of Europe, said Deputy Prime Minister Assen Vassilev.

“With our joint efforts, existing infrastructure and slight upgrades, I believe that we can significantly diversify deliveries in the region and reduce our dependence on Russia once and for all,” Vassilev told the forum.

Bulgarian gas supplier Bulgargaz and Greek utility company DEPA will look at gas delivery opportunities for the region, the Bulgarian energy minister said.

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The two companies have agreed to start joint acquisitions of liquefied natural gas (LNG), which should improve their bargaining power, Greek Energy Minister Kostas Skrekas told reporters. He added that Greece intends to soon double the storage capacity of its only LNG terminal in Revithoussa (near Athens) and to build a new terminal at Alexandroupolis by the end of 2023.

The IGB gas interconnector, which connects Bulgaria and Greece and will carry gas from LNG terminals and the Azerbaijani gas pipeline to Bulgaria, is expected to become operational in July, the Greek official said.

On Thursday, Bulgargaz signed a contract with a Bulgarian company to build the infrastructure needed to send gas to Serbia.

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