SOFIA (Bulgaria), February 18 (SeeNews) - Russia's president Vladimir Putin and his Bulgarian counterpart Rumen Radev discussed bilateral cooperation over the phone on Tuesday, focusing on the implementation of energy projects, the Kremiln said.
The conversation was held at Radev's initiative, the Kremiln's press office said, without giving any details.
Bulgaria meets more than 90% of its gas needs with imports from Russia. As of January 1, Bulgaria started receiving Russian natural gas via Gazprom's TurkStream pipeline crossing Turkey, replacing the existing delivery route via Romania and Ukraine. The new supply route will deliver natural gas to Greece and North Macedonia as well.
In October, a consortium of Saudi-based Arkad Engineering and Construction Company and its Italy-based joint venture company Arkad ABB started the construction of the Bulgarian section of TurkStream under a 1.1 billion euro ($1.9 biillion) contract. The offshore section of the TurkStream pipeline stretching 930 km across the Black Sea from Russia to Turkey consists of two parallel strings with an annual throughput capacity of 15.75 billion cubic metres each. One string is intended for consumers in Turkey, while the second will carry gas to customers in Europe through Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary.
Another major energy project in which Russia could potentially take part is the construction of a second nuclear power plant in Bulgaria - a project abandoned since 2012 which the government now aims to revive.
In December, Bulgaria invited five companies to submit binding offers in the process of selection of a strategic investor in its 2,000 MW Belene nuclear power plant (NPP) project. The shortlisted candidates are: China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power, Russia's Atomenergoprom, a subsidiary of Rosatom, France's Framatome and US-based General Electric, the energy ministry said at the time
In December 2016, following international arbitration, Bulgaria paid some 600 million euro in compensation to Russia's Atomstroyexport for the equipment already manufactured by the company for the project. The equipment is now stored at the site in Belene, on the Danube, designated for the construction of the power plant.