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Bulgaria lending 409 mln euro to Bulgargaz to ensure security of gas deliveries

Bulgaria lending 409 mln euro to Bulgargaz to ensure security of gas deliveries Photo: Bulgargaz

SOFIA (Bulgaria), August 11 (SeeNews) - Bulgaria's government will provide a loan of 800 million levs ($422.8 million/409 million euro) to Bulgargaz in a bid to put the state-owned gas supplier on a solid financial footing ahead of the upcoming heating season, caretaker prime minister Galab Donev said on Thursday.

The state aid proposal will be adopted at a cabinet meeting to be held later on Thursday, along with the terms under which Bulgargaz will repay the loan, Donev told public television BNT.

"The decision is of extreme importance as it will financially stabilise Bulgargaz and guarantee the security of natural gas supply," he noted.

On Wednesday, Bulgargaz announced it will hold three auctions for deliveries of natural gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG) on August 12 and August 16 to ensure availability of the fuel for both next month and the final quarter of 2022.

Caretaker energy minister Rossen Hristov told BNT earlier on Thursday that Bulgargaz has overdue payments of 500 million levs. The government will launch a procedure for the financing and refinancing of the debt arrears, with the company seeking a long-term loan on the markets being one option to repay the government loan.

Negotiations with Russia's Gazprom have not been ruled out but they would be the last resort as the government is currently studying all alternative options for gas deliveries, Hristov added.

(1 euro = 1.95583 levs)