Bulgaria is now linking its hopes to receive profits from Russian gas with the Turkish Stream project worth 11.4 billion euros, which involves building a gas pipeline through Turkey bypassing Ukraine, the article published by Novinite says.
Four years later after the suspension of the South Stream gas pipeline project, the Bulgarian government is again willing to cooperate with Gazprom — now in the construction of a pipeline from Turkey to Europe. However, the European Union is concerned about whether Sofia will distribute gas fairly and, even worse, whether it will move away from Brussels, coming closer to its former Soviet patron.
The construction of a first string of the gas pipeline, which serves Turkey’s domestic market, has already been completed. The second string will supply 15 billion cubic meters of gas to South-Eastern and Central Europe. Russia is already supplying gas to Turkey via Bulgaria, but this pipeline runs through the territory of Ukraine. In case Moscow excludes Ukraine from the gas supply system next year, Bulgaria risks losing about 100 million euros a year in transit fees. Recognizing these risks, Sophia expects to participate in the Turkish Stream 2 project, urging Gazprom and Turkish officials to build a gas pipeline through the Black Sea port of Varna, rather than Greece.
One of the main reasons why Brussels is seeking to diversify energy sources is the influence of Gazprom over Eastern Europe. To date, the Russian energy giant remains the only exporter of gas to Bulgaria. For the European Union, which provides all possible assistance to the Baltic countries helping them to replace the old Soviet energy system, Sofia's plans, which will undoubtedly lead to the country's growing dependence on Russian energy, may be interpreted as a rejection of the policy aimed at protecting it.