EU country won’t negotiate new gas deal with Russia’s Gazprom — Analysis

The ongoing conflict between Russia, Ukraine has made it impossible to sign a contract.

Bulgaria will not negotiate a new natural gas contract with Russia’s state-owned energy giant Gazprom, amid the ongoing conflict between Moscow and Kiev, the country’s Deputy Prime Minister Assen Vassilev said Saturday.

“In this situation, there’s no way there are talks with Gazprom,”He told BNR public radio.

Gazprom currently holds a 10-year supply agreement with Bulgaria, and it expires in 2022. Nearly all the natural gas supply to Bulgaria comes from Russia.

Vassilev said that Sofia is looking for alternative gas sources and has been in talks with other parties. “We have held talks with both Greece and Turkey,”He said that natural gas may be available from Azerbaijan via the current pipeline infrastructure.

“There are alternatives. The old pipes of the Trans-Balkan route,”He explained. “There we have a capacity of about 20 billion cubic meters and it can be used in both directions, we need some three billion cubic meters.”

Germany raises concerns over gas suppliers

The official stated that another possibility is to purchase liquefied natural gases from abroad. Bulgaria, along with other EU member countries are seeking a solution for the problem of gas supply.

“There are supplies from Qatar, Algeria. It is pan-European. Within the next week, European leaders will discuss a gas agreement that is EU-wide. We expect this mechanism to be in place in the summer,”Vassilev stated.

Despite the conflict between Moscow and Kiev, the EU is reaffirming its efforts to decrease its dependence on Russian energy supplies. Moscow launched its offensive following a seven-year standoff over Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk ceasefire agreements, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics in Donetsk and Lugansk. French and German protocols were created to normalize the state of these breakaway territories within the Ukrainian government.

Russia now demands that Ukraine declare itself neutral and vows to eject Ukraine from the NATO military bloc. Kiev claims that the Russian invasion was unprovoked. It also denied claims it planned to take the rebellious republics with force.

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