Bulgarian Concerns over Lukoil Dispute and Plans for Oil Pipeline Project
Posted 30/10/2023 12:13
In a recent interview, Bulgarian Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov warned of a potential regional oil crisis as the country grapples with the withdrawal of the derogation for Russian oil imports at Lukoil's Bulgarian refinery. This issue has escalated, with political divisions arising between various parties regarding the immediate cessation of the derogation.
Denkov emphasized the risks associated with the Bulgarian refinery ceasing operations due to oil shortages, stating that it could lead to market instability and a subsequent rise in fuel prices, affecting the region. He stressed the urgency of developing the oil pipeline project from the Greek port of Alexandroupolis to Burgas, similar to the existing interconnector with Greece that transports Azerbaijani gas to other Balkan countries.
The proposed oil pipeline would serve to export already produced fuels and facilitate quick imports from Greece if necessary. Romania has also expressed interest in contributing to the extension of the pipeline to its border. The recent tripartite meeting among the prime ministers of Bulgaria, Greece, and Romania further underlined the significance of the oil pipeline project, which marks a significant shift from the previous plan for an oil pipeline between Burgas and Alexandroupolis.
Denkov highlighted Bulgaria's aim to maintain control over the oil pipeline, emphasizing the intention to establish a project company similar to the one operating the Interconnector with Greece. Additionally, part of the gas interconnector's route with Greece will be utilized for the oil pipeline, streamlining the project's development.
Furthermore, Denkov shed light on the interest of neighboring countries, including Greece, Serbia, and North Macedonia, in forming long-term electricity purchase agreements from the future units 7 and 8 of the Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant, which will feature AP1000 nuclear reactors. The prime minister indicated that various countries have shown interest in these projects, raising discussions about potential investment models and electricity procurement options. He emphasized the strategic importance of these new reactors as foundational energy capacities during the gradual phasing out of coal in the region.