June 12 (SeeNews) - The interim results of a feasibility study on a proposed Balkan gas hub project in Bulgaria show that the preferred option envisages a new entry point from Turkey, Bulgaria's gas transmission system operator Bulgartransgaz said on Tuesday.
The feasibility study advises for implementing the project in two stages – first, through a new entry point from Turkey, followed by a new entry point near Varna, on the Black Sea coast, where the hub will be situated, Bulgartransgaz said in a statement following a presentation of the interim results of the feasibility study before the European Commission.
Experts are also looking into other entry points, including new or already existing infrastructure from Greece and Turkey, Bulgartransgaz added.
The main gas sources that are being discussed include Russian gas, Azerbaijani gas via the TAP and TANAP pipelines and domestic gas supplies from the Black Sea.
The European Commission continues to strongly support the project, Klaus-Dieter Borchardt, director at the European Commission's Directorate B on the Internal Energy Market, was quoted as saying.
In March, Bulgartransgaz signed 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 with a tie-up between Bulgaria’s EMG consult and Swiss-based AF consult.
In December 2014, the Bulgarian government proposed to the European Commission to build an EU-funded regional gas hub near the 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 required to cover its domestic needs from Russia via a single pipeline from Ukraine through Romania.
(1 euro = 1.95583 levs)