Bulgaria competes with Greece for new Russian gas pipeline - economy or geopolitics?

 Prior to receiving the official proposal from the Russian state giant "Gazprom," Bulgaria has already stated that agrees to transport Russian gas. A few days later Greece also stated in Moscow its desire to transport the Russian gas.

The continuation of the TurkStream through Greece is "absolutely viable and realistic," Russian President Vladimir Putin said after talks held in Moscow with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. It is about the continuation of TurkStream. One of the two pipelines has to pass through Bulgaria to Serbia and Central Europe, or through Greece to Italy, carrying 15.8 billion cubic meters of Russian gas. To this end, Bulgaria will have to build its own 500-kilometer pipeline, which will pass from the Turkish border to the Serbian border. It is expected that its price will be about $ 1.6 billion, according to the Russian publication Komersant, which first unveiled Gazprom's plans where Bulgaria was included. If the "Greek version" is preferred will be used the trans-Adriatic pipeline, which is now almost built - 80 percent.

Bulgaria competes with Greece for new Russian gas pipeline - economy or geopolitics?

We remind that during 2014 the project for the South Stream gas pipeline, which would have to transport over 60 billion cubic meters of Russian gas through Bulgaria, crashed under the pressure of the European Union and the US. The current project to a large extent matches the planned pipeline route on Bulgarian territory. Since then, a number of experts have voiced doubts about the economic benefits for Bulgaria. Let's not talk about geopolitical considerations, which ultimately led to the collapse of the project. Now Greece's intentions to take part in this competition with Bulgaria make it even more difficult. In the first opinions expressed by experts, based on the economic point of view, TurkStream is more profitable. This can not yet be reaffirmed because there is no clarity as to the economic parameters of the pipeline, while for now dominate Russia's geostrategic ambitions and Bulgaria's idea of ​​building a European Balkan Gas Center on the Black Sea coast which is supplied with gas from Russia, Azerbaijan and Greece and gas to be sold to all the countries in Europe who need it. According to the government in this way Bulgaria will not disappear from the map of the gas corridors on the continent and would have a greater economic and political weight, or, as Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Donchev says, "Bulgaria must retain the role of gas distributor". This is not just a matter of revenue but also a matter of national security, because Bulgaria should not be surrounded by all gas pipelines."

Leaving aside political and strategic arguments, we need to see what Bulgaria's economic benefit will be from building pipelines for Russian gas in its territory. It seems that this is also the case for revenue from transit taxes. These incomes were questioned when it came to the Southern Stream gas pipeline, not to talk about his current backlog, which is four times smaller! There is no official information on these revenues until now, only Energy Minister Temenuzka Petkova stated that it is "indicative profit" over the next 20 years to over 4,358 billion leva "(about 2.2 billion euros). This is a rather modest profit on the background of investment in the pipeline in question by our country. In addition, urgent action must be taken, as there is a demand for "Bulgarian Belt" to be ready by the end of next year.

Regarding the Balkan Gas Distribution Center, it soon became involved in the newly established Bulgarian National Strategy. However, even in this case concrete figures are missing, although it is said that the project was approved by Brussels. For his construction will need a lot of money - around 1.5 billion euros. How much and what will be gained, apart from intermediary services in trade between European buyers and gas sellers, this is also not very clear.

Right now behind the political euphoria about building gas pipeline from Russian through Bulgaria, there are no serious economic arguments for its profitability. It is true that everything is at its very beginnings, but the deadlines for project implementation are so short that there is not much time to think. We hope that this time we will settle well, as the rulers promise, and we will not make the Southern Stream mistake again. Let's hope that if the Greek route of the new pipeline will be preferred Bulgaria will not be in a losing position.

Source: Radio Bulgaria in Albanian
Bulgaria competes with Greece for new Russian gas pipeline - economy or geopolitics? Bulgaria competes with Greece for new Russian gas pipeline - economy or geopolitics? Saturday, December 15, 2018 Rating: 5
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