Azerbaijan to force Russia to reduce gas prices

Implementation of the “Vertical gas corridor” project for the delivery of Azerbaijani gas to Europe will provide competition on the EU gas market and, in particular, the Bulgarian one, which will lead to lowering of price for gas supplied to the country, the Bulgarian expert in the field of gas industry Hristo Kazanjiyev told Trend April 23.

“Bulgaria needs to diversify its sources of energy supply, as the country is totally dependent on Russian gas,” said Kazanjiyev, adding that the price of Russian gas supplied to Bulgaria is very high. “Prices for natural gas in Bulgaria are among the highest in Europe. Bulgaria imports over 95 percent of its natural gas at prices approximately 300 percent the market prices in North America. Russia, a dominant supplier of natural gas for both Europe and Asia, has been the primary supplier of natural gas to Bulgaria since 1974.”

Kazanjiyev went on to add that the IGB gas pipeline construction project (Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria) is a very promising one. The expert said that the implementation of this project, and the appearance of Azerbaijani gas as an alternative, may help to reduce the price of gas supplied to Europe by Russia.

Bulgaria has recently signed an agreement with Romania and Greece to build a link among the countries’ natural gas grids. The new link, called “Vertical gas corridor”, will be designed to provide the country with alternative fuel supply – Azerbaijani gas.

IGB is a gas pipeline, which will allow Bulgaria to receive Azerbaijani gas, in particular, the gas produced within the Stage 2 of development of Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz gas and condensate field.

IGB will be connected to the Trans-Adriatic pipeline via which the gas from Shah Deniz will be delivered to European markets.

It is expected to start the gas transportation via TAP in 2020. Nevertheless, the implementation of the IGB project and connecting of the existing systems to it could supply Azerbaijani gas to the European market earlier than 2020.

Kazandjiev said that Bulgaria already has an agreement on receiving 1 billion cubic meters of Azerbaijani gas per year.

Talking about the Southern Gas Corridor project in general, Kazandjiev said that this project is very important for Europe, since it ensures the diversification of energy supplies to EU countries thereby strengthening their energy security.

He added aside from Azerbaijani gas, Turkmen and Iranian gas could also be supplied in the future as part of this project.

Edited by CN

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