SOFIA (Bulgaria), June 14 (SeeNews) - Bulgaria's prime minister Kiril Petkov said that the gas link with Greece could start operating as early as July, several months earlier than most forecasts, enabling gas imports from Azerbaijan, public radio BNR reported on Tuesday.
Bulgaria is certain to receive 1 billion cubic metres (cu m) of Azeri gas per year, with the definitive supply volume to be confirmed by Petkov on a visit to Azerbaijan later this week, BNR said.
"Very soon, between July and August, I expect this one billion cu m to enter Bulgaria at a price that is multiple times lower than the current market price," BNR quoted Petkov as saying. He added that the government is working on a mix of supplies of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and Azeri natural gas so that the average delivery price is better than that of Russia's Gazprom.
Gazprom halted gas deliveries to Bulgaria last month after the country refused to pay in Russian rubles.
Public supplier Bulgargaz has an existing contract for the supply of one billion cu m from Azerbaijan. The interconnector, developed by ICGB project company, is the only pipeline which directly links Bulgaria’s natural gas system to the Southern Gas Corridor.
The interconnector could see its maximum capacity increased to a total of 5 billion cu m per year, in response to the European Union's push towards independence from Russian fossil fuels in light of the war in Ukraine. The pipeline could also link to planned and existing LNG terminals in the region, the project developer has said.
In early June, ICGB launched auctions on the Balkan Gas Hub to purchase natural gas for technical purposes as part of the procedure for the initial filling of the interconnector.