Sofia Energy Summit Sends Mixed Messages

Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev will pay a working visit to Moscow on April 27 to 28. The visit takes place a day after the international energy summit in Sofia, which was not attended by Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and precedes the EU-Caspian summit in Prague, organized by the Czech Presidency of the block.

Stanishev is expected to confer with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, with State Duma Chairman Boris Gryzlov, and with Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov. The tone of dialogue between the two countries hardened at the closing of the energy forum on Saturday when Bulgarian President Parvanov that the Russian energy giant must respect Bulgaria’s sovereignty. According to the energy minister Peter Dimitrov a shareholder agreement on South Stream can be signed between Bulgargaz and Gazprom during Bulgarian prime minister Sergey Stanishev’s visit to Moscow. The main problem so far preventing the signing of an agreement is that Bulgaria does not accept Gazprom’s requirement that South Stream should use existing Bulgarian pipes.

The US Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy Affairs, Ambassador Richard Morningstar said Saturday in Sofia the Nabucco gas pipeline was just part of the solution to Europe’s needs.

“The US will take a broad approach, this is a very complicated jigsaw puzzle with many pieces”, Morningstar said expressing his satisfaction with the fact that all 28 participants in the Summit have agreed to set very basic and very compelling principles with regard to natural gas, including diversity, transparency, and accountability.

At the same time AmCham Bulgaria participated in an Energy Business Forum in Sofia that was parallel to the summit. In a BNT special program covering the summit, Valentin Georgiev AmCham executive director said that Bulgaria has to look for the alternative energy sources that are in the focus of Barack Obama’s new energy policy as well.

Elaborating on a question which of the projects Nabuco, or South Stream would be economically beneficial for Bulgaria, Mr. Georgiev said that it is up to every one of them to show whether it is efficient. Thus the gas transportation will be guaranteed.

At the same time both projects will be developed in future and currently Bulgaria has to search for other forms of its energy security as the renewable energy sources represent, Mr. Georgiev concluded.  AmCham

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