Bulgaria pushes EU, U.S. for Nabucco gas pipeline

08:49, March 03, 2010      

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Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov criticized on Tuesday the European Union (EU) and the United States for their passivity on the implementation of the Nabucco gas pipeline project.

During the Energy Security in the Wider Black Sea Region Conference held in Sofia, Borissov said that the EU and the United States claimed to have set Nabucco as their priority but the fact is that today this gas pipeline exists as a formally declared priority.

According to Borissov, the EU and the U.S. have to clarify why this project is staying still on zero height.

He said that Bulgaria also viewed Nabucco as its priority and did everything necessary at this stage of the project -- the country has ratified the international agreement for building this pipeline, has found funding and is ready to start working on it.

Gunther Oettinger, the EU Energy Commissioner, told a joint press conference later on that Nabucco will be realized if a win- win situation is reached by everybody, including the countries having gas facilities, also Russia and the countries which this pipeline is going through.

He added that the opinions of the plants which will ensure the gas supplies have to be taken into account, too. According to Oettinger, a decision about Nabucco has to be taken in 2010.

The agreement about Nabucco construction was signed last July between Bulgaria, Austria, Hungary, Romania and Turkey, and this pipeline has to deliver 31 billion cubic meters of Caspian-region gas each year from Turkey, via Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary, to Austria, starting in 2014.

About the Moscow-backed South Stream pipeline, Borissov told the Energy Conference that it doesn't compete with Nabucco on the Bulgarian territory, so Bulgaria can build both projects.

Borissov also announced at the conference that in March 2010 Bulgaria will send to the EU a request for extending the life span of the two 1,000-MW reactors of the Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant by 10 or 20 years. If there is no such EU permission, the reactors have to be closed in 2020.

Borissov added that Bulgaria also works out a project for building two new reactors in the Kozloduy NPP.

Four 440-MW units in the only Bulgarian NPP were shut down in 2002 and 2006 according to an agreement with the European Commission.

Regarding the Belene NPP which is still under construction, the Bulgarian PM said that for the next few years there is no money for it in the state budget, therefore Bulgaria is looking for money from the EU and other investors.

Borissov added that each step related to gas and electricity taken by Bulgaria will be coordinated with the EU.

Source: Xinhua
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