Bulgaria's GERB Mulls Halting MPs Vacation over Fuel Saga

Bulgaria's GERB Mulls Halting MPs Vacation over Fuel Saga

The ruling, center-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria, GERB, party is prepared to halt the vacation of the Members of the Parliament over the Lukoil crisis. The news was announced by the Deputy Chair of the GERB Parliamentary Group, Valentin Nikolov, saying an emergency meeting can be called if the fuel crisis deepens after the revocation of the license of the only refinery in the country.

Nikolov explained the situation was "delicate" and could develop into a crisis. The MP further pointed out the move must be backed by all parties, since the issue was not a matter of politics, but of following the Constitution, adding there were two loosing sides in the conflict - the State budget and the Lukoil Bulgaria company. Nikolov did, however, voice hope Lukoil will show will to deal with the situation and reach a favorable solution.

On Sunday, the Minister of Economy and Energy, Traicho Traikov, announced that he Bulgarian government is calling an emergency meeting of the Monitoring Board of the Lukoil Bulgaria company.

The Minister reiterated there is no fuel crisis in the country, except for jet fuel, which is a problem and a commitment of Lukoil Aviation, whose license has not been revoked. Second, in this issue, comes the commitment of Lukoil Neftohim, which had 15 months to install the electronic measuring devices, and failed to do so, according to Traikov.

The Chair of the Association of Bulgarian Air Carriers, Svetoslav Yankulov, stated the jet fuel reserves, unblocked by the government Saturday, would last for just 3-4 days. He further informed that currently the situation is under control and all planes that needed fuel have been refueled, but pointed out there is still no permanent solution for the problem because if negotiations for deliveries from Greece and Romania fail, the reserves might be tapped into again.

Meanwhile, Lukoil Bulgaria informed in an official letter that it is halting supply of diesel fuel to the State Railroad Company, BDZ. The move is based on the Railroads' debt to Lukoil amounting to BGN 2.5 M.

On Saturday, the cabinet released 1 800 tons of jet fuel from the State reserve, destined for the airports of Varna and Burgas, where the summer season is in its peak. Additional volumes for Burgas will be also redirected from the airport in the second largest city of Plovdiv. The order of the cabinet is for the release of jet fuel, kept in the Lukoil Bulgaria warehouses, for a week-long consumption.

Traikov and Finance Minister, Simeon Djankov count on import from abroad to secure normal supplies for gas stations while the Interior Ministry will continue to receive for a month longer the fuel it had already ordered from Lukoil.

On Friday, Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, announced that crisis headquarters will monitor the situation on Bulgaria's fuel market after the local refinery of Russian oil giant Lukoil was forced to halt operations with Traikov heading the headquarters.

Bulgaria's Neftochim, the only oil refinery in the country, controlled by Russia's giant Lukoil, started on Wednesday to reduce crude processing to effectively stop production after the customs office revoked its licenses./Source: Sofia News Agency/

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