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Bulgaria prepares $1.59 billion to transport Russian gas to central Europe

Staff Writer |
Bulgaria will go ahead with plans to spend 1.4 billion euros ($1.59 billion) to build a new gas link to transport Russian gas from the TurkStream pipeline to Europe, bypassing Ukraine to the south.

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Bulgarian lawmakers on Friday gave the green light to state gas company Bulgartransgaz to launch tenders to build a new 484-km gas pipeline from its border with Turkey to Serbia by 2020 that will carry mainly Russian natural gas.

TurkStream is part of the Kremlin's plans to bypass Ukraine, currently the main transit route for Russian gas to Europe, and strengthen its position in the European market.

Its two lines will each have an annual capacity of 15.75 billion cubic metres. Russian energy giant Gazprom has completed the first line of pipeline to Turkey for local gas consumption.

Gazprom said on Friday it was considering booking capacity in the Bulgarian gas system. That would effectively ensure that the gas Russia plans to send to Europe through the second line of its Black Sea pipeline will pass through the country, the Bulgarian energy minister said.

Bulgartransgaz has already tested market interest to expand its gas infrastructure and expects final bids by shippers by the end of December.

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