There are grounds to hold negotiations with Gazprom and Bulgaria could negotiate better terms for the purchase of natural gas, said from the parliamentary podium the chairman of the Energy and Water Regulatory Commission (EWRC) Ivan Ivanov.

The chairman of the Bulgarian regulator was at hearing in the National Assembly in connection with the upcoming new pricing period for energy companies, which begins on July 1.

Ivanov reminded that EWRC does not participate in the negotiations with the Russian company, but there is available information about the price at which natural gas is supplied in the country.

If a comparison is made with other European countries, there is reason for Bulgaria to request new negotiations and get better price conditions, he said.

EWRC cannot initiate such negotiations, but can only advise, Ivanov added, adding that the Ministry of Energy and Bulgargaz have the authority for such talks.

Common impression during the hearing in the National Assembly was that a difficult year ahead is expected for the Bulgarian energy sector. 

The prices of natural gas and carbon dioxide emissions are rising on the European markets, which will affect the price on the domestic market as well, said the Chairman of the EWRC.

According to him, the government can legally support the sector until July 1, 2025, but this can only be done with a clear plan for market liberalization and termination of long-term electricity purchase contracts. The pandemic and the sharp contraction in consumption have changed the market situation and made forecasting more difficult.

For this reason, EWRC’s expectations for the price of emissions did not come true – last year’s forecast was for a price of 22 euros per ton for this price period (July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021), and in recent weeks the price exceeds EUR 40 per tonne.