Bulgaria has started negotiations with Azerbaijan to increase gas supplies to Romania, Moldova and Ukraine through the future vertical Balkan gas corridor, the Bulgarian parliament’s press center announced on Monday, March 4.

Bulgarian Parliament Speaker Rosen Zhelyazkov is on an official visit to Azerbaijan and has held talks with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on securing Azeri gas for Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Moldova and Ukraine.

“The excellent relations and strategic dialogue between Sofia and Baku are increasingly important for the diversification of the supply of energy sources for the Bulgarian economy, especially after Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine,” Zhelyazkov told Aliyev.

The additional volumes of Azerbaijani gas can be supplied both to the region of southeast Europe and to the countries of the Western Balkans, the press center of the Bulgarian Parliament announced after the meeting between Zhelyazkov and Ilham Aliyev.

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Bulgaria currently receives between 1-1.5 billion cubic meters of Azerbaijani gas per year, enough to meet about 40 percent of the country’s gas needs. Deliveries are made through the new gas interconnector between Bulgaria and Greece, which was built with European Commission funding and became operational a year and a half ago.

The capacity of the interconnector can be increased from three billion cubic meters per year to five billion cubic meters of gas transported northwards, which is crucial for Ukraine, whose contracts to transport Russian gas expire at the end of 2024.

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Bulgaria is expected to become a key route for the region’s energy security from 2025, as it will be the only route for the transfer of Russian and Azeri pipeline gas, as well as LNG from Greece and Turkey, to neighboring countries to the west and north.

Rosen Zhelyazkov told Aliyev that Bulgaria’s goal is to become a major regional hub for receiving and distributing natural gas from Azerbaijan and other sources.

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Ilham Aliyev said that relations between Azerbaijan and Bulgaria are not only friendly but have been raised to the level of strategic partnership, which has opened a new page in bilateral relations.

“Thanks to this, Bulgaria had the opportunity to become a transit country for Azerbaijani gas, which is already a fact. We highly value the partnership in this area,” the Azerbaijani president said, quoted by the press center of the Bulgarian parliament.

Reprinted from euractiv.com.

You can see the original report here.

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