Energy Minister Says There Is a War against the Government’s Energy Policy

Sofia, February 6 (BTA) - A war is being waged against the energy policy of the government, Energy Minister Alexander Nikolov said here Sunday. He held an emergency news briefing to disprove allegations that the new management of state-owned gas supplier Bulgargaz sold 60,000 MWh of natural gas to Romania in prearranged trades.

He said that it was not one but 18 deals and the total amount of traded gas was 37,600 MWh and not 60,000. The trades were not finalized “in seconds” – allegedly indicating that they were pre-arranged, but throughout the day and everybody that was interested in Bulgargaz’ surplus gas quantities, was satisfied, said Nikolov.

“In this specific moment and this complex international situation, during our meeting in Baku and just before the start of talks with Gazprom Export for re-negotiating the terms of long-term contracts and supply of new quantities , I consider such allegations and statements by former energy ministers, deputy prime ministers and other political person, to be nothing less than a coordinated attack against the Bulgarian national interests,” said Nikolov.

The attacks against the new Bulgargaz management came from former energy minister Rumen Ovcharov, who directed public attention to the Friday trades and said that the new gas supplier management acted just like the old one, that was replaced for pursuing corporate gains to the detriment of public interests.

The Energy Minister said that Bulgargaz has an obligation to maintain a gas balance and sales on the free gas market should not be surprising. “Bulgargaz has an obligation to manage its surplus and surplus is created during spells of milder weather when domestic consumption goes down .”

It transpired from his remarks that in that specific case the surplus was 14 per cent of the planned consumption for the day.

He also said that the new Bulgargaz management took office on Friday.

What was really achieved at the Friday deals was “the best price” and Bulgargaz made a profit of over 1.5 million leva, he added.

The Minister went on to speak about “a liquidity gap of 200 million leva” in Bulgargaz as its upcoming payments exceed 650 million leva.

And yet all contractual obligations will be honoured, he added.

He was adamant that without the Friday deals, the 14 per cent surplus would have cost the company a loss of receipts of 12.5 leva/MWh.

Source: Sofia