Bulgaria and Turkey have signed an agreement that will allow Bulgaria to use Turkish liquified natural gas (LNG) terminals for the next 13 years, the Bulgarian News Agency (BTA) reported.
Russia, which previously met more than 95 percent of the Balkan country’s gas needs, cut off deliveries to Bulgaria in April after Sofia refused to pay in rubles.
The deal will enable Bulgaria to purchase gas from any global producer and unload it in Turkey, according to Rossen Hristov, the Bulgarian minister of energy.
Hristov described the signing as a historic moment, saying the lack of infrastructure had caused serious problems with LNG supplies in the past year.
Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Dönmez said the agreement would strengthen relations between the two countries and improve security of the natural gas supply in the Balkans.
The annual transfer of gas under the deal will be 1.5 billion cubic meters (bcm). The agreement grants Bulgaria access to five Turkish LNG terminals, the capacity of which can be increased if needed.
At present, the European Union country imports 1 bcm of gas a year from Azerbaijan and covers the rest of its needs, about 3 bcm per year, through LNG imports from neighboring Greece.