Turkey strikes LNG deal with Bulgaria to boost European gas market
(Bloomberg) — Turkey gave Bulgaria access to its liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals, opening up a tightly controlled corner of the European gas market that could help diversify the region’s supply mix.
Bulgaria’s state-owned Bulgargaz EAD will be able to import LNG via Turkey’s terminals and grid for 13 years, under a deal signed in Sofia on Tuesday. Bulgaria will be able to use a total capacity of around 1.5 billion m3 annually, Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Donmez told reporters. If fulfilled, the capacity meets about half of Bulgaria’s domestic demand.
The agreement opens a new supply route in southeastern Europe after Russia curbed shipments to the continent following its invasion of Ukraine. Previously, Bulgaria’s shortest way to access LNG was via Greece, where buyers must compete for berthing slots under European Union rules.
Turkey, outside the EU but connected to it by pipeline, isn’t bound by those rules and has the capacity to spare.
“Thanks to this agreement, we are now able to purchase gas from producers all over the world,” Bulgarian Energy Minister Rosen Hristov told reporters. “This is a solution not just of national and regional importance, but also of importance for Europe.”
While western Europe is rushing to build new infrastructure to replace Russian gas, Turkey used less than half of its four LNG terminals’ 21.9 million tons of capacity last year, according to Bloomberg data. A fifth facility is due to start later this month.