Bulgaria seeks gas compensation from Gazprom

January 24th, 2009 - 1:14 am ICT by IANS  

Athens, Jan 23 (RIA Novosti) Bulgaria estimates its losses from recent cuts in Russian gas supplies at about $320 million and is demanding compensation from Russia’s energy giant Gazprom, the country’s economy and energy ministry said Friday. “Economy and Energy Minister Petar Dimitrov handed Gazprom’s deputy CEO Alexander Medvedev an official request during talks in Sofia, insisting that Bulgaria be compensated for the crisis caused by cuts in gas supplies (from Russia),” the ministry said in a statement.

“As a result of unprecedented cuts in supplies of natural gas Jan 6, the Bulgarian economy suffered enormous losses. Current estimates are at 500 million leva ($327 million),” the statement said.

Russia suspended supplies to Ukraine Jan 1 after Ukraine failed to reach an agreement on a new gas contract for 2009. A week later, Gazprom cut off gas deliveries to the European Union (EU), saying Ukraine was stealing gas intended for EU consumers.

Gazprom resumed supplies to Europe Jan 20 following the signing of a new contract with Ukrainian energy company Naftogaz on Russian gas supplies to Ukraine for 2009-2019.

According to the Bulgarian ministry, 123.8 million cubic metres of gas were not supplied to Bulgaria during the crisis.

Bulgaria listed three possible ways of compensation: to pay direct damages, supply the lost gas at preferential prices, or to allow Bulgaria to transport gas from third countries via Russian pipelines without paying transit fees.

“The future relations between Bulgaria and Russia depends on restoring trust by Gazprom,” the ministry said.

Alexander Medvedev announced during talks in Sofia that Gazprom would fulfil all its contractual obligations with Bulgaria and would provide the Balkan country with additional supplies to restore the lost supplies at preferential prices, rather than pay compensation. Bulgaria is yet to respond.

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