Gazprom urges Bulgaria for gas transits

Sep 18, 1997 02:00 AM

Russia's RAO Gazprom has urged Bulgaria to sign a contract for transiting Russian natural gas to Turkey and other Balkan countries, a Bulgarian government statement said. It said that Gazprom chairman Rem Vyakhirev had written to Bulgarian Prime Minister Ivan Kostov ahead of a shareholders' meeting of the Bulgarian-Russian joint stock company Topenergy, in which Gazprom has a 50 % stake.
The letter said Gazprom was ready to discuss with the Bulgarian side all problems related to the future of Topenergy.
In July, the Bulgarian cabinet asked private firms with stakes in Topenergy to transfer their shares to state-owned Bulgargas in a bid to restore its 50 % participation. The cabinet will approve the establishment of a new joint venture with Russia if the private shareholders reject the proposal. Only Chimimport has said so far it was ready to transfer its 2 % share.
Issues which Gazprom listed for the agenda of Topenergy's general meeting in Sofia on Sept. 25 include Bulgaria's intention to increase Bulgargas' share in Topenergy, enlargement of pipelines on Bulgaria's territory, and long-term Russian gas supplies to Bulgaria.
Sofia wants to receive Russian gas directly from producer Gazprom, not through Overgas Inc, in which the powerful conglomerate Multigroup and Gazprom have equal shares. It said an intermediary increases the purchase price by $ 10-15 per 1,000 cubic metres.
The new chairman of the Bulgarian Energy Committee Ivan Shiliashki told there was no danger of a gas crisis this winter in Bulgaria. "The Russian side is also interested in supplying gas," he added. Shiliashki said Bulgaria was studying alternative sources for gas deliveries including imports of LNG from Arab countries. He said soon Bulgaria would start negotiations with Russia and Ukraine for arranging 350 million cubic metres gas supplies which the former Soviet Union owed in return for Bulgaria's participation in construction work at Russia's Yambourg gas field.
Bulgaria has a gas network of more than 2,000 km on its territory and transits Russian gas to Turkey, Greece and Macedonia.
Topenergy is willing to start enlargement of the pipeline between the borders of Romania and Turkey.

Source: not available
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