Rosen Hristov: The contract with Botash gives us access to absolutely all global suppliers

The lack of competition means a higher price, explained the former minister in connection with the contract for the Seventh Block of the Kozloduy NPP

Energy / Bulgaria
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The contract with "Botash" is of extremely strategic importance for Bulgaria, as it provides access to the world markets of liquefied gas. This is what Rosen Hristov, Acting Minister of Energy in the government of Galab Donev, told BNR at the time of signing the agreement between Bulgargaz and the Turkish state company on January 3, 2023 in Sofia. Hristov is due to be heard by the temporary parliamentary committee, which examines the agreement between Bulgargaz and the Turkish state company and its impact on the energy system.

A noise is being created around this contract, behind which economic interests are hidden, claims Rosen Hristov.

"Again, the middlemen are capturing the market share by bringing in cheap Russian gas and pushing Bulgargaz out of its market share. Bulgargaz is being discriminated against to benefit traders, but this time there is no explanation that it is a crisis and that there is a shortage and there is no from where to supply gas, because the contract with "Botash" gives us access to absolutely all global gas suppliers. It is precisely to continue the patronage of private intermediaries that this contract has been attacked, which prevents the explanation that there is nowhere else to get gas.", commented the official energy minister.

The temporary parliamentary committee decided at a meeting on Friday to demand the annual financial statements of "Bulgargaz" for the last two years. The company will also have to provide the interim reports for the last year, as well as information about all its transactions on the gas exchange for that period.

The commission also decided that on one of the days between March 6 and 8, the deputies will hear, in addition to Rosen Hristov, the Minister of Energy Rumen Radev, the executive director of "Bulgargaz" Denitsa Zlateva, as well as the executive director of "Bulgartransgaz" Vladimir Malinov. After their hearing, the temporary committee may need to ask to hear other representatives of companies and institutions. Subsequently, the chairman of the National Security State Agency, Plamen Tonchev, will also be heard in a closed session, the temporary commission also decided.

The clauses in the contract with "Botash" are absolutely standard, including penalties, and its duration corresponds to the strategy of "Bulgargaz" for concluding supply contracts, Rosen Hristov said on Sunday. He believes that there is another reason for the "noise surrounding the contract with Botash" - an attack on President Rumen Radev, since the caretaker government appointed by him concluded the contract.

"The contract with "Botash" is being thrown out in order to cover up the failure of the fact that nothing happens in the energy sector for 9 months and we are losing international positions," noted the former acting Minister of Energy.

The government considers Bulgargaz's contract with Botash to be unprofitable for Bulgaria. According to its clauses, the state turned to the European Commission for an opinion, the answer has not yet been published.

For Bulgaria, the contract is not profitable, it is asymmetric, long-term with serious commitments, Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov said several times.

Rosen Hristov also commented on the procedure for the upcoming construction of the 7th and 8th units of the Kozloduy NPP.

"A lack of competition means a higher price. If I were Hyundai and I knew I was the only qualified bidder, I would hardly give the most competitive price for the construction."

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