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Russia supports Bulgaria in energy ambitions

Bulgaria and Russia are to sign an energy contract worth billions of euro, helping Sofia consolidate its position as regional leader in energy.

The signing of the contracts takes place during the official visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Bulgaria, the last official visit he makes as head of state. One certain contract is the one on forming a Russian - Bulgarian - Greek company in order to exploit the Burgas-Alexandropoulis oil pipeline transporting Russian oil to the Aegean Sea.

Another contract that might be signed on the same day is the one for building a second nuclear plant in Bulgaria, with a 2,000 megawatt power. The new plant would be built in the Northern city of Belene by the Russian company “Atomstroyexport”, the French “Areva” and the German “Siemens”. The first reactor is scheduled to start producing power in 2013, followed by a second reactor one year later.

Intense negotiations take place for Bulgaria's participation in the South Stream project, the main competitor of the Nabucco project, designed to transport Russian natural gas by underneath the Black Sea, towards Bulgaria and the to Greece and Serbia. Terms like the transit fees and the property rights are still subject to negotiation. Analysts believe that Putin's visit means that the obstacles will be solved and the project will come into shape, with Bulgaria not opposing the project, but simply trying to win the most out of the deal. (