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Pipe blast in Bulgaria cuts Russian gas supplies to Greece -2

Russian gas supplies to Greece have been brought to a halt following a blast on a section of gas pipeline in Bulgaria, the Greek media reported Monday.

The blast occurred Monday morning due to a gas leak, the Greek media said. No casualties have so far been reported. Bulgarian authorities have confirmed the pipeline blast and that Russian gas supplies to Greece have been suspended, the Bulgarian news agency BTA said. According to BTA, the pipe was ruptured by an explosion at 7:20 a.m. local time (4:20 a.m. GMT) near the city of Blagoevgrad in southwestern Bulgaria.

„The incident poses no threat to people. The gas is not hazardous and natural gas deliveries to Greece will remain suspended until repairs have been carried out,” BTA quoted the country's fire service as saying. Natural gas supplied by Russia to Greece via Bulgaria accounts for up to 80% of Greece's gas consumption, which amounts to around 2.7 billion cubic meters a year. Meanwhile, the Greek authorities and Russian energy giant Gazprom have made no comment on the incident.

The latest reports quoted Dimitar Gogov, executive director at Bulgargaz, as saying on the phone that it would take no more than three days to repair the gas pipeline. „Nothing awful has happened, and there is no threat of poisoning of the area around the blast,” Gogov said. „This is a remote sector, and there are no residential areas nearby. I can say for sure that there is no environmental threat.” (