Bulgaria's energy regulator approved a 3.5% increase in the price of natural gas

Bulgaria's energy regulator approved a 3.5% increase in the price of natural gas

The increase is determined by record-high prices at European gas hubs as well as last week's decision to suspend withdrawals from Bulgaria's sole gas storage facility in Chiren, the Energy and Water Regulatory Commission (EWRC) said in a statement.

The price applicable for February was 109.88 levs per MWh.

Last week, state-owned Bulgargaz proposed to EWRC an increase of 3.5% in the wholesale gas price for March, revising its earlier proposal for a 1.7% reduction.

The Chiren underground gas storage facility is operating in an injection mode to ensure sufficient reserves of in case of unforeseen circumstances caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the head of EWRC Stanislav Todorov said on Friday. Gas is usually being injected in Chiren in summer months, when consumption is low, and the need to fill the storage facility right now means Bulgaria has to import gas at much higher prices, Todorov explained.

Bulgarian energy regulations require Bulgargaz to set the gas price monthly. The EWRC has the final say on the proposed changes in the wholesale price, at which the company sells natural gas to end-suppliers and customers directly connected to its transmission network.

Bulgaria is almost entirely dependent on Russian gas imports to meet its needs.

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