(Photo Credit: AFP)
On 3 January, Bulgaria’s national gas company Bulgargaz signed a 13-year gas deal with Turkish energy company BOTAS to transit 1.5 billion cubic meters of gas annually.
The two company directors, Denitsa Zlateva and Burhan Yozcan, signed the gas agreement with the deal covering half of the required fuel Bulgaria needs, which is currently transferred via Greece.
Bulgaria was previously dependent on gas from Russia; however, in light of Moscow’s operation in Ukraine, Russia cut off gas deliveries to Bulgaria in April last year after Sofia refused to pay in roubles.
The 13-year agreement will enable Bulgaria to use Ankara’s liquified gas (LNG) terminals for cargo shipments, which would be transferred to Sofia through the BOTAS gas network.
“With this agreement, we are securing the opportunity to buy gas from all global producers and offload it in Turkiye, which best suits Bulgaria logistically,” Bulgaria’s interim Energy Minister Rossen Hristov said.
Sofia and Ankara have maintained positive ties throughout the years. In November last year, Bulgarian prosecutors arrested and charged five people connected to the recent bomb attack in Istanbul, including three men and one woman of Syrian-Kurdish descent.
A month prior, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Moscow and Ankara had instructed their energy authorities to work on a Russian proposal to transition Turkey into a gas hub for Europe.
Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed exporting higher quantities of gas via the TurkStream gas pipeline that runs through the Black Sea and is connected to the Baltic Sea’s Nord Stream pipeline; however, deliveries were halted after the recent attack against the Nord Stream pipelines.
In light of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Moscow suspended gas supplies to Europe after several leaks from the Nord Stream’s main pipelines, which have had a dire impact on 27 EU nations, with gas prices going up by 90 percent in the past year.