On the initiative of Bulgaria, a contract was signed today in Sofia between the operator of the gas transmission system “Bulgartransgaz”, as well as the relevant companies in Romania (“Transgaz”), Hungary (FGSZ), Slovakia (“Eustream”), as well as the state oil company of the Republic Azerbaijan (“SOCAR”)
The document is about the Solidarity Ring (STRING) joint initiative, supported by the European Commission, which aims to increase the security of natural gas supplies for the European Union and the region of Central and South-Eastern Europe.
President Rumen Radev, who together with his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev participated in the ceremony, indicated that the memorandum will increase connectivity between the countries and increase the capacity of their gas transmission networks.
“The name of the initiative is ‘Solidarity Ring’, because at its foundation lies cooperation and solidarity. Just when our partners are most in need of secure, reliable supplies, of diversification, let us all work together so that we can provide because the war in Ukraine has pushed us to look for new dimensions of the concepts of good neighborliness, mutual aid and solidarity, it has pushed us to look for new routes, new sources, new ways of delivery in order to be able to fundamentally reshape the international logistics map. This initiative is an example of success in this direction,” said President Rumen Radev.
The memorandum will ensure greater energy security for Europe and more quantities of Azeri natural gas for European countries, emphasized the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev. He pointed out that Baku is a reliable partner of Europe and recalled the energy security memorandum signed in July last year between his country and the European Union.
“We plan to double the supply of natural gas to Europe by 2027. In 2021 we supplied 8 billion cubic meters. We plan the quantities this year to be 24.5 million cubic meters. This is production from existing gas fields. In the coming years we expect gas production from new deposits. Today, Azerbaijan supplies natural gas to Turkey, Georgia, Bulgaria, Italy – and this year we will start supplying to Romania as well. If by the end of the year all interconnections are in place, we hope that Hungary and Slovakia will receive gas. We hope to increase our supplies from six to at least ten countries,” Aliyev said.
In March, the Russian news agency “Interfax” reported that Bulgaria paid more than 383 million euros for Azeri gas in 2022, the amount representing an eightfold increase compared to the previous year.
Bulgaria began importing the entire agreed amount of Azeri gas after the 12-year construction of the Greece-Bulgaria interconnector was completed in September. It was officially launched on October 1 in the presence of the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev.