Bulgaria is able to cover its energy consumption needs through alternative sources of natural gas once its current contract with Russia's Gazprom expires at the end of 2022, the chairman of the board of public gas supplier Bulgargaz, Ivan Topchiyski, told private broadcaster bTV.
The plan includes the possible purchase of all available gas volumes under an agreement with Azerbaijan after June 30, including by using alternative gas transmission networks should the commissioning of the Greece-Bulgaria interconnector be delayed, Topchiyski said in a bTV interview on Wednesday.
Importing liquefied natural gas from several sources is also part of the plan, which will aim to diversify Bulgaria's energy supply as the country is about 90% reliant on Russian gas for its energy needs at present, Topchiyski added. There are two liquefied gas terminals in Greece and five in Turkey, which Bulgaria can use.
However, the price from alternative sources would not be affordable in the short-term so Bulgargaz is working on signing long-term supply contracts.
Topchiyski declined to comment on any ongoing negotiations to extend the Gazprom contract and said that although agreed Russian gas imports are forthcoming at present, Bulgargaz is working on replacing those volumes as well.
Earlier this week, Gazprom said that its exports to Bulgaria increased by 24% year on year in the first half of March.
The launch of the planned gas link with Greece could be delayed until the autumn, Sofia-based media reported last week.
Europe has imported the full capacity of 10 billion cu m of natural gas from Azerbaijan since the launch of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) gas transmission project at the end of 2020 and further short-term capacity could be added, the TAP consortium said on Thursday.