Bulgargaz seeks €700 million loan for South Stream

Int’l Relations

Economy and Energy Minister Petar Dimitrov said that state-owned gas company Bulgargas was looking to contract a loan of €700 million to cover its share of expenses to build the South Stream gas pipeline in Bulgaria.

Two days earlier, Parliament’s energy committee voted in favor of the ratification of the agreement, signed in January 2008 during former Russian president Vladimir Putin’s visit to Sofia. Ratification has been delayed on grounds that there were not enough financial reasons to do so, Dnevnik said.

South Stream agreement envisions that the gas pipeline would start in Russia and pass through Bulgaria on its way to Italy and Austria. Bulgargas and Russia’s Gazprom have agreed to set up an equal shares joint venture that would carry out feasibility studies and handle construction of the pipeline in Bulgaria.

According to preliminary calculations, the Bulgarian share of the costs is estimated at €1.4 billion, even though the exact route of the pipeline has not been decided, Dimitrov was quoted as saying.

Russia has already sealed bilateral deals with the governments of Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and Italy, but participating states are yet to sign an international agreement to that end. (Sofia Echo)

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