The connection of the gas storage in Chiren with the European gas transmission network is part of the implementation of the 10-year plan of Bulgartransgaz and is part of the project for expansion of the gas transmission infrastructure. This was stated at the time of parliamentary control and in response to a question from MP Andrei Mihailov, Minister of Energy Andrey Zhivkov.
The connection of the natural gas storage "Chiren" with the gas pipeline "Balkan Stream" is included in the ten-year plan of "Bulgartransgaz" 2021 - 2030, said Minister Zhivkov. According to him, the connection of "Chiren" with "Balkan Stream" is a priority for "Bulgartransgaz" and European funding is sought for the project.
Earlier, the minister answered a question about 3D seismic surveys, part of a project to expand the Chiren gas storage facility.
The 3D seismic survey project related to the expansion of the underground gas storage in Chiren has been delayed by almost 10 years due to ongoing public procurement appeals. The project itself started in 2011, when the first procedure under the Public Procurement Act was carried out. As a result of a number of appeals, including non-compliance with CPC recommendations, the entire procedure has been repeated over the years. A contract with a selected contractor was signed only in 2018. This became clear from the response of the caretaker Minister of Energy Andrey Zhivkov.
MP Andrey Mihailov asked how the company was selected for the 3D seismic surveys, how the provision of access to the lands for their organization was organized and how the company selected two specific boreholes - E72 and E73 in Chiren. "According to our voters, these two boreholes are far from being of good quality and have much lower characteristics than those made more than 40 years ago," said the MP. He stated that the Minister did not answer the question about the drillings and at the same time concluded that in Bulgaria they were much more expensive than those in Germany and the Czech Republic.
"In Bulgaria for 2 drillings of eleven million - 22 million. In Germany and the Czech Republic, two drillings with identical characteristics of 7.5 million - 15 million, said the MP (in what currency was not specified). We see the difference in price. This raises many questions, which still do not give their answer for conducting procedures for these public procurements, for the experience of the selected companies for contractors, as well as for the price paid for them, "said Mihailov.
In response to another question from the MP about the planned expansion of only the above-ground part of the underground gas storage, Minister Zhivkov clarified that technically the underground and the above-ground part are different, as well as that they are performed by extremely specialized teams. The activities, especially in the underground part, are extremely specific and require many years of experience of specialists, including drilling, and therefore Bulgartransgaz considered it inexpedient to combine the design of the underground and aboveground part in one order. According to him, after specifying the capacity of the underground part, changes will be made to the above-ground part.
We remind you that the expansion project started only in 2019 and envisages an increase in the volume of working gas from 500 million cubic meters to 1 billion and an increase in the production and injection flow from 4 - 5 million to 8 - 10 million cubic meters/day. This will be made possible by drilling 10 new high-performance wells.
As it is known, it is precisely because of appeals, which are rather aimed at delaying one or another infrastructure project, since they are in fact correct, an amendment to the Public Procurement Act was made some time ago.