Bulgaria to replace Russian gas supply with cheaper US LNG

Details on specific prices and quantities are not yet available. [EPA-EFE/MICHAEL REYNOLDS]

Bulgaria will receive supplies of US liquefied natural gas (LNG) at prices lower than Gazprom’s starting in June, according to a deal struck between Prime Minister Kiril Petkov and US Vice President Kamala Harris, the government’s press service said on Wednesday.

Deputy Minister of Economy Georgi Danailov commented that the two had been working on the idea of ​​alternative supplies of liquefied natural gas since February.

“This is the finalisation of the talks held during this period,” he told Nova TV. According to him, the specific price depends on many conditions, including how the delivery will be made.

“At the moment, I do not have details. It is quite possible that the price will be lower than that of Gazprom because the price of Gazprom is quite high,” Danailov said.

“The price of gas through pipelines, when delivered at a distance of more than 4,000 kilometres, certainly becomes high enough and may be higher than that of liquefied natural gas,” the Bulgarian deputy minister explained.

Details on specific prices and quantities are not yet available.

Bulgaria will most likely receive regular supplies from the US, Danailov also said, “Such is the general agreement between US President Joe Biden and Ursula von der Leyen to begin regular supplies of liquefied natural gas from the US,” Danailov recalled.

Gazprom unilaterally cut off gas supplies to Bulgaria and Poland at the end of April as the two countries refused to comply with Russia’s request to pay in roubles. The rest of the EU, except Hungary, also refuses to pay in the Russian currency, but Russia has so far continued delivering supplies.

The situation has forced Bulgaria to look for alternative sources. In late March, the US and the EU announced a deal to increase imports of US LNG, which would reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian energy resources. An additional 15 billion cubic metres of US LNG should be delivered to Europe by the end of 2022.

Prior to the suspension of Russian gas, Bulgaria received gas from Gazprom at one of the lowest prices in the EU because it operated under a long-term contract.

At the end of June, the gas interconnector between Bulgaria and Greece will be ready, through which Bulgaria will receive an additional 1 billion cubic metres of gas per year, which is enough for a third of total consumption. Authorities in Sofia are trying to negotiate a threefold increase in supplies from Azerbaijan.

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