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Bulgaria interested in receiving Israeli natural gas - energy min

Bulgaria interested in receiving Israeli natural gas - energy min Denys Prykhodov/

SOFIA (Bulgaria), January 29 (SeeNews) - Bulgaria is interested in opportunities for receiving natural gas from the Israeli offshore fields of Tamar and Leviathan, the energy ministry in Sofia said on Monday.

"We consider the Eastern Mediterranean and Israel as a potential source of natural gas deliveries," Bulgarian energy minister Temenuzhka Petkova, on a visit to Israel, said during a meeting with her Israeli counterpart Yuval Steinitz, according to a press release issued by the ministry.

One option for delivery of Israeli natural gas to Bulgaria is through liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals, Petkova said. Another option is the EASTMED gas pipeline project, which will deliver gas from Israel via Cyprus and Crete to Greece.

Bulgaria plans to receive gas from an offshore terminal near Greece's Aegean port of Alexandroupolis, which will have capacity to feed gas into the transmission systems in the region of Southeast Europe. The LNG will reach the floating terminal by means of gas carriers.

Currently, Bulgaria and Greece are in process for construction the IGB gas pipeline which will connect the Greek gas transmission system in the area of Komotini to the Bulgarian gas transmission system in the area of Stara Zagora. Bulgaria also plans to connect its gas network with Serbia by 2020 and to upgrade its gas link with Turkey.

In November, 2017, Bulgaria signed an agreement with neighbouring Macedonia to conduct a feasibility study on the construction of a gas interconnector between the two countries.

In December 2017, Bulgarian gas transmission system operator Bulgartransgaz said it awarded a 2.3 million levs ($1.4 million/1.2 million euro) contract for drafting a detailed feasibility study on the proposed Balkan gas hub project to a tie-up between Bulgaria’s EMG consult and Swiss-based AF consult.

The Bulgarian government proposed to the European Commission in 2014 to build an EU-funded regional gas hub near the country's Black Sea port of Varna to dispatch gas deliveries to the rest of Europe - to Greece, Romania, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia and, via those countries, to EU member states in central and western Europe, as well as to non-EU Serbia, Macedonia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Bulgaria is heavily dependent on Russian gas supplies. The country imports almost all the gas it needs to cover its domestic needs via a pipeline from Ukraine through Romania.

(1 euro = 1.95583 levs)