site.btaUPDATED Energy Regulator's Prime Concerns: Gas Supply, Prices, Infrastructure

Energy Regulator's Prime Concerns: Gas Supply, Prices, Infrastructure
Energy Regulator's Prime Concerns: Gas Supply, Prices, Infrastructure
Hristov (left) and Ivanov (Energy Ministry Photo)

Energy and Water Regulatory Commission (EWRC) Chair Ivan Ivanov and three EWRC members held an urgent meeting with caretaker Energy Minister Rossen Hristov on Wednesday, Hristov's Ministry said in a press release. Natural gas supplies and prices topped the agenda.

"We are trying to find the best solution and, to this end, we have already started simulating and calculating various options. The idea is toe stabilize supplies, which will give consumers predictability and security," Hristov explained. For his part, Ivanov said that the gas price in September will be especially important.

Both officials concurred that it is crucial that the institutions should act transparently and, as far as possible, predictably, the press release added.

The caretaker Cabinet is capable of handling the problems of LNG gas supply in principle but this requires "competence, competence, rapid response and particular firmness in the conduct of relevant negotiations," Ivanov said in a National Television interview Wednesday morning.

The EWRC has not received any documents related to the seven tankers carrying LNG from the United States negotiated by the Kiril Petkov cabinet, nor any documents about the three tankers that should bring liquefied gas from the US by the end of the year, he added.

There are no free regasification slots and it is very difficult to find booked transfer capacity, which should be done in the next 10 days. "Infrastructure is precisely the complicated part, which is why the outgoing cabinet did not take that responsibility. This would mean booking capacity at the respective regasification slots, be that at the Revithoussa LNG import terminal or at the two terminals in Turkey and, respectively, LNG unloading slots," Ivanov added. Currently, Bulgaria is buying from others who have bought both slots and transmission capacity, which is why it is paying a higher price, he clarified. 

According to the EWRC Chair, after Russia stopped supplying natural gas, Bulgargaz and the government in the person of the energy minister should have sought a way to sign long-term natural gas delivery contracts that make supply to businesses and consumers stable and predictable. So far, no such agreement has been drawn up except the one with Azerbaijan. 

The second step Ivanov hopes to see taken in the next two months is the Greece-Bulgaria Gas Interconnector (Komotini-Stara Zagora) going into operation. Azeri gas prices are much lower than those on the spot market, including the prices of LNG deliveries. If the interconnector becomes operational by the end of September, Bulgarians will feel the drop in natural gas prices in October at the latest, Ivanov said. 

Finally, the LNG regasification terminal at Alexandroupolis, where Bulgartransgaz holds a 20% share, has to be completed by the end of 2023, and then no one will say that there are no LNG unloading slots, while Bulgaria will have guaranteed supplies from that terminal.

Heat prices were set on July 1, and the decision is valid for a year in principle, until June 30, 2023. Any dramatic change in the price of natural gas may lead to a revision of the price on January 1, 2023, Ivanov explained. 

The recently reinstated EWRC Chair finds it inexplicable how in just three or four months, from a company that posted a profit of BGN 60 million in early February, when its management was changed, Bulgargaz has run a loss of BGN 500 million. One reason could be the purchase of natural gas via intermediaries, Ivanov thinks.

Household electricity prices will continue to be low, the EWRC Chair pointed out.

/DD/

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By 08:11 on 27.09.2022 Today`s news

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