Analysis 14 Oct 16

Turkish Deal Fails to Dim Bulgaria’s Gas Ambitions

Bulgaria remains convinced it can become the gas distribution hub for the Balkans - despite Turkey’s own, more advanced, plans. 

Mariya Cheresheva
BIRN
Sofia
Bulgaria's interconnector with Romania's completion is scheduled by the end of he year. Photo: Transgaz

Following the warming in Russia’s relations with Turkey, sealed with the strategic Turkish stream pipeline project deal, which the two countries signed during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Istanbul on Monday, Bulgarian officials claim the deal will not affect their own plans to become the Balkans’ regional gas hub.

The planned Turkish pipeline causes “no room for concern. You all know our concept for a gas distribution centre on the territory of Bulgaria. You all know that it has been broadly supported by the European Union,” Bulgaria’s Energy Minister, Temenuzhka Petkova, said on Tuesday.

While officials in Sofia remain optimistic about the gas hub project, analysts warn that Bulgaria will face difficulties in finding funding for its plans and in positioning itself as regional leader, especially as it will now be competing with Turkey for this role.

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