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Turkey, Bulgaria offer spot capacity amid uncertain Ukraine transit
Author: Aura Sabadus,icis.com BUCHAREST (ICIS)--Turkish and Bulgarian transmission system operators are expected to allocate some capacity on the Trans-Balkan pipeline on a short-term rather than annual basis amid uncertainty over a long-term transit contract negotiated between Ukraine and Russia. In a note posted on its website on Thursday, the Turkish regulator EPDK said capacity on the pipeline which had been used to transport Russian gas to the market via Ukraine, Moldova, Romania and Bulgaria would be allocated from Bulgaria into Turkey only on a quarterly and monthly basis. A market source said Russain producer Gazprom would also have to decide the allocation protocol for the capacity. Most of the pipeline capacity is still currently booked under long-term contracts which expire between 2021-2043. Any spare capacity would have to be allocated based on a protocol agreed with Gazprom, as the seller of gas to the Turkish incumbent BOTAS and independent importers. Capacity nominations were due to be made in November, but the deadline has now been pushed forward to December. It is not clear how much capacity would be allocated in this direction and according to what methodology. As a non-EU state, Turkey is not obliged to auction cross-border capacity on the open regional RBP platform. This means that it is up to the regulator and the transmission system operator, BOTAS, to decide how this capacity is allocated. Sources said one option may be to allocate it on a first-come-first-served basis. Nevertheless, Turkish market participants point out that Turkey and Bulgaria would first have to sign an interconnection agreement before any capacity is allocated. So far there are no indications that such a document has been signed. DELIVERY POINTS The source also noted that Turkish counterparties and Gazprom would have to decide on what volumes and delivery points for supplies would be chosen from 1 January 2020. Up until now, Turkish companies had been off-taking Russian gas shipped through the Trans-Balkan pipeline via Ukraine. However, as Ukraine’s long-term transit contract with Gazprom expires on 31 December 2019, and Russia intends to divert volumes to the new TurkStream corridor via Turkey, all terms embedded in contracts which depend on this transit are up for review. Given the uncertainty, the Turkish regulator has now decided that capacity would only be allocated on a short-term basis until there is more clarity regarding the long-term supply contracts in Turkey, the Ukraine-Russia transit contract as well as the transit switchover from the Trans-Balkan pipeline to TurkStream. Once TurkStream is operational, potentially next year, flows would need to be reversed so that gas would flow from Turkey into Bulgaria. TURKEY-BULGARIA In anticipation of the TurkStream commissioning, the Bulgarian TSO, Bulgartransgaz, announced on 28 October that it would auction firm unbundled capacity in the direction Turkey-Bulgaria for Q1 ’20, Q2 ’20 and Q3 ’20. The capacity will be for Malkoclar-Strandja 2, a new exit point linking the Russian TurkStream2 pipeline to the Bulgarian transmission system. The TSO did not publish offered capacity, but the regional RBP auctions platform indicates that the capacity offered would be 288GWh/day/quarter in Q1, Q2 and Q3 2020. The starting tariff for capacity in Q1 ’20 would be Bulgarian Lev 0.065/KWh/day/quarter (€0.033/KWh/day/quarter) in Q1 ’20 and Bulgarian Lev 0.0359/KWh/day/quarter in Q2 and Q3 ’20. The capacities are in line with those allocated as part of an open season held by Bulgartransgaz for the Turkish-Bulgarian cross-border point. Earlier in February 2019, Bulgartransgaz allocated a total of 289.5GWh/day/year of capacity on the Malkoclar-Strandja interconnection point on the Turkish-Bulgarian border for 2020 and 2021. The capacity is set to increase to 511GWh/day/year from 1 January 2022 for a period of 18 years. TurkStream2 is one two 15.75billion cubic metres/year pipelines that will link Russia to Turkey via the Black Sea. TurkSTream1 will feed the Turkish market and is expected to be commissioned at the beginning of 2020, while TurkStream2 is expected to carry natural gas into Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary. The commissioning date is yet unknown.
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Eurohold will protect the deal with CEZ in the court
Eurohold Bulgaria AD will protect the interests of its more than 9000 shareholders after the decision of the Commission for Protection of Competition (CPC) to ban the deal for the purchase of CEZ Group’s business in Bulgaria, following its responsibility and fulfilling its commitments towards them.     Eurohold has already filed an appeal in the Sofia Administrative Court. The Czech energy group has also taken administrative measures against the decision of Bulgaria's competition authority.   Eurohold intends to actively pursue its strategy for developing a leading regional utility company within the holding following the model of Euroins Insurance Group (EIG), one of the leading insurance groups in Southeast Europe (SEE). The company keeps its interest in the acquisitions of companies in the energy sector as it sees potential for diversification of its portfolio.    The special energy board of experienced international and Bulgarian experts, created by Eurohold, will continue to work for the implementation of the strategy for the development of the holding’s utility business in SEE.   
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12-11-2019
PM Borissov: Bulgaria Will Be Able to Declare Full Gas Independence in 2020
Inspecting the progress of construction of the Gas Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB) on Monday, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said that next year Bulgaria would be entitled to say it has achieved gas independence. The route will be completed ahead of schedule and Bulgaria will be able to supply LNG from the United  States, Qatar, Cyprus, Egypt and Azerbaijan, he said.

The inspection involved Energy Minister Temenouzhka Petkova, the  energy regulator's Chairman Ivan Ivanov, US Ambassador Herro Mustafa, Greek Ambassador Dimitrios Chronopoulos and Azerbaijan's Ambassador Nargis Gurbanova.

Borissov stated: "After an extremely transparent procedure, Bulgaria took out a loan with a bank guarantee and is contributing 500 million leva to the project. Two Greek companies won the contracts for pipe supply and construction. This shows we are not just open and transparent. We have always said that Bulgaria and Greece must share their resources – Greece hould be able to use the Black Sea and Bulgaria should be able to use the Aegean Sea."

Addressing the ambassadors, Borissov stressed that IGB is key to the diversification of sources and routes for natural gas supply to Southeastern Europe.

US Ambassador Mustafa said the project would guarantee Bulgaria's energy security, which also means national security.

Greek Ambassador Chronopoulos said Greece, Bulgaria and the US would be brought together in another energy project - the floating LNG terminal in Alexandroupolis. This will change the entire region of Greece and Bulgaria, he said.

The planned length of the pipeline is 182 km, the pipeline diameter will be 32" and the projected capacity will be up to 3 illion cu m a year in the direction from Greece to Bulgaria. The ipeline is designed for a capacity increase to 5 billion cum. The project will ensure that Bulgaria and its neighbours have access to alternative supplies from the Caspian Region, as well as from existing or future LNG terminals.

Borissov said the construction of a road connecting Alexandroupolis and Dimitrovgrad would give Bulgaria access to the Aegean Sea, just as Greece would have access to the Black Sea and the Danube. He added that the option of giving each country access to one quay at selected sea ports free of charge had been discussed with his Greek counterpart Kyriakos itsotakis. Thus Greece will have a transport route northwards to Moldova, Ukraine and Russia, while Bulgaria will be getting goods from the south.  Source: BT 
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12-11-2019
“Now we look forward to seeing rapid progress on this project.” – U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria Herro Mustafa regarding the Interconnection Greece-Bulgaria gas transit pipeline
U.S. Ambassador Herro Mustafa travelled to Haskovo District in Bulgaria today to inspect construction progress on the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria gas transit pipeline. Ambassador Mustafa joined Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, Azerbaijani Ambassador to Bulgaria Nargiz Gurbanova, Greek Ambassador to Bulgaria Dimitrios Chronopoulos, and other government officials at the construction site. Ambassador Mustafa particularly recognized the efforts of ICGB CEO Teodorga Georgieva “whose timeless efforts were critical to bring us to where we are today – witnessing the start of construction work.” “Let us recall a simple but powerful principle: Energy security is national security.  And the IGB is not just another pipeline.  It is a project that will greatly enhance Bulgaria’s national security and sovereignty and bring the promise of lower energy costs to the Bulgarian consumer,” Ambassador Mustafa told the assembled crowd in the Bulgarian language.  “Now we look forward to seeing rapid progress on this project.  We also welcome the Bulgarian government’s intention to support – via an ownership stake and capacity booking – the Alexandroupolis Floating Storage and Regasification Unit – which will magnify the power of the IGB to turn Bulgaria into a truly dynamic gas hub,” Ambassador Mustafa told reporters.
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11-11-2019
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Research Lab to Be Built on Bulgarian Antarctic Base
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11-11-2019
Construction of a research laboratory on the Bulgarian St. Kliment Ohridski Antarctic base will start as part of the 28th Bulgarian Antarctic expedition. The lab is expected to be completed in three years and will allow scientists to study valuable geological specimens, expedition leader and head of the Bulgarian Antarctic Institute Prof. Hristo Pimpirev told journalists here.

On Monday, President Rumen Radev presented the national flag to the participants in the 28th Antarctic expedition during a ceremony before the scientists' departure for Livngston Island.

The first group of eleven people will depart on their journey to Antarctica on November 13. Another ten people will leave in December, followed by a group of eight in January. There will be seven foreigners working on the Bulgarian base this season.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Bulgarian scientific research on the earth's coldest continent.

President Radev said that there are no doubts that the research and observations conducted by scientists on Antarctica are of key importance for the environment, the fight against climate change and the future of this planet. Bulgaria is actively participating in these initiatives, which are important for all of humanity, he said. During its 30 years of scientific presence in Antarctica, Bulgaria has established itself as one of the leading researchers and explorers of the southernmost continent, ranking next to global powers.

The President further said that building a modern research laboratory will be a huge achievement for Bulgarian science and will clearly show that this country continues to be among the most developed nations currently studying Antarctica.

Prof. Pimpirev noted that this year, the Bulgarian scientists will be working on eight scientific projects in the fields of biology, geology and medicine. Source: BTA
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Supreme Judicial Council Elects Conclusively Ivan Geshev as Prosecutor General
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14-11-2019
The 25-member Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) Plenum Thursday voted, 20-4, to elect conclusively Ivan Geshev as Bulgaria's new Prosecutor General. This was the second vote that the Council took on Geshev's nomination, following President Rumen Radev's refusal to decree his appointment two weeks after the candidate was elected by a vote of 20 to 4 on October 24. Thursday's SJC decision will be sent to the President, who is now bound to sign the appointment decree. To be elected, Geshev needed a two-thirds majority or 17 votes in favour. The Council members resolved to revote Geshev's nomination without initiating a new procedure. After that, part of them said why they had voted in favour and against the candidate. The second vote took place after a several hours' long debate on the reasons why the head of State refused to decree the appointment, the voting procedure, and whether a new election procedure should be launched or not. The voting was held while unprecedented security arrangements were made around the SJC building, where proponents and opponents of Geshev's elections rallied. RY/LG Source: BTA
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Parliament Adopts 2020 State Budget Bill on First Reading
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14-11-2019
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PM Borissov: Bulgaria Will Be Able to Declare Full Gas Independence in 2020
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12-11-2019
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“Now we look forward to seeing rapid progress on this project.” – U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria Herro Mustafa regarding the Interconnection Greece-Bulgaria gas transit pipeline
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11-11-2019
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Bulgartransgaz EAD ensured bank finance of EUR 200 million for Balkan Stream
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23-10-2019
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CVM Report: Bulgaria Meets Commitments Made upon EU Accession for Reforming Judiciary and Fighting Organized Crime and Corruption
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23-10-2019
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