March 2 (SeeNews) - Bulgaria's utilities regulator said that it approved a wholesale price of natural gas valid for March of 106.74 levs ($58.04/54.57 euro) per MWh, a 14.15% reduction on the February price.
The drop in indices on European gas markets as a result of mild weather and the high quantities of gas pumped into European gas storage sites were the main reasons for lowering the final price, the Energy and Water Regulatory Commission (EWRC) said in a statement on Wednesday.
As a result of lower gas consumption expectations for March, smaller than previously planned quantities of the fuel, which will come from Bulgaria's Chiren underground gas storage site, were included in the overall price mix. Moreover, lower market quotations for natural gas in February allowed public supplier Bulgargaz to inject natural gas into Chiren at significantly lower prices, which also contributed to the final price drop.
Bulgaria covers 33.5% of its natural gas consumption with Caspian gas from Azerbaijan via the Greece-Bulgaria interconnector, which is also a key element to achieving a lower wholesale price, the regulator noted. As a result of a public procurement procedure for 2023, Bulgargaz has signed two contracts with regional traders for liquefied natural gas (LNG) delivery for March, securing another part of the gas mix.
"Bulgaria and the European Union have done well since Gazprom stopped supplies - market trends show that the apocalyptic scenarios of darkness and cold in the absence of such supplies were not justified, and that extremely high gas prices remain a thing of the past," EWRC chairman Ivan Ivanov said.
Last month, Bulgargaz made a preliminary proposal to the utilities regulator for a mere 4% monthly cut in the wholesale natural gas price for March.
(1 euro = 1.95583 levs)
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