Bulgaria wants Nabucco back after South Stream change

Bulgaria wants Nabucco back after South Stream change

SOFIA - Reuters
Bulgaria wants the European Commission to revive plans for the Nabucco pipeline that would pump gas from the Caspian Sea, after a Russian project seen as a rival was scrapped, Prime Minister Boiko Borisov has said.

Sofia was caught off guard by President Vladimir Putin’s surprise announcement in December to abandon plans for the South Stream pipeline that would have supplied gas to Europe via Bulgaria, while bypassing Ukraine.

Nabucco was backed by Western powers, but was shelved in part because there was not enough demand to sustain both it and South Stream. Bulgaria, which would have benefited from charging transit fees for South Stream, sees reviving Nabucco as a way to compensate for its loss.

Moscow is now working on an alternative that would pass through Turkey but avoid Bulgaria, prompting accusations from Brussels that Russia was holding European Union member Bulgaria to ransom.

“We want to unfreeze the Nabucco project through Bulgaria,” Borisov told reporters after meeting Azeri President Ilham Aliyev in Sofia.

“It is not aimed against anyone, this is about preserving  Bulgaria’s national interest, so that our gas network be full with gas, so that we take transit fees and not be bypassed,” Borisov said.