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Bulgarian energy regulator approves 13.7% hike in natgas price for May

Bulgarian energy regulator approves 13.7% hike in natgas price for May Gas pipelines

SOFIA (Bulgaria), May 16 (SeeNews) - Bulgaria's energy regulator said it approved an increase in the wholesale price of natural gas for May to 162.17 levs ($86.25/82.91 euro) per MWh, up from 142.59 levs per MWh in April, the month in which Russia's Gazprom halted gas deliveries to Bulgaria amid the fallout from the war in Ukraine.

Gazprom's unilateral decision to stop supplies to Bulgaria is the main reason for the price hike, the Energy and Water Regulatory Commission (EWRC) said in a statement on Friday.

The retroactively approved wholesale price for May is 8% higher than the one that Bulgargaz has proposed for the current month in early April and is equal to the price that the public supplier requested earlier on Friday, after a delay in the usual procedure.

The price increase in May will minimally affect costs for household users, given that the heating season is now over, while at the same time the updated forecast by Bulgargaz for next month points to a significant possible decrease in the gas price to 140 levs per MWh, EWRC added.

The energy regulator expects Bulgargaz to lodge a formal request for the June wholesale gas price this week, after finalising negotiations on the delivery and transport of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Last week, prime minister Kiril Petkov announced that Bulgaria is set to receive two shipments of LNG from the US in June, at prices lower than those charged so far by Gazprom.

EWRC also said that the May gas price was determined after the public supplier agreed a number of transactions, at the lowest possible price, with a number of alternative gas suppliers. The price forming also took into account the addition of the full volume of gas from Azerbaijan agreed in 2019, which Bulgaria will from now on be able to obtain, thus covering both household and industrial needs. The amount which Azerbaijan is contracted to supply is 1 billion cu m per year, to be delivered through the Southern Gas Corridor, via Greece.

Bulgargaz took action to provide full replacement quantities from new suppliers, covering all the needs of Bulgarian consumers in an extremely short period of time, the energy regulator noted. This is the first time that the country will be 100% independent from Russian gas deliveries, and moreover this will not require any restrictions of supply for consumers, the head of the energy regulator said.

(1 euro = 1.95583 levs)

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