Bulgaria seeks closer ties with Turkmenistan, eyes possible gas deliveries

Bulgaria seeks closer ties with Turkmenistan, eyes possible gas deliveries

Sofia, August 25, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Clive Leviev-Sawyer of The Sofia  Globe

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov wrapped up a two-day visit to Turkmenistan on August 25, during which he met Turkmenistan president Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov to discuss closer economic co-operation between the two countries.

One particular area where Bulgarian firms had the necessary experience to be employed in Turkmenistan was infrastructure development and urban construction, the Bulgarian Government media service said in a statement. Borissov also touted the potential of Bulgaria’s Black Sea ports to act as a key juncture in a transportation corridor running from Turkmenistan through Azerbaijan and Georgia.

The two officials also discussed co-operation in the tourism, education, science and culture sectors, the statement said.

Turkmenistan is also a major natural gas producer and, for the past decade, has been considered as a potential source of gas for European markets, especially as the EU stepped up efforts to diversify gas supplies in the wake of disruptions caused by tensions between Russia and Ukraine, even before the current crisis in Eastern Ukraine.

One such proposal is for a trans-Caspian pipeline that would take gas from Turkmenistan to Azerbaijan and Turkey before reaching Europe (Russia, which is EU’s second-largest supplier and still buys gas from Turkmenistan, albeit in diminishing amounts, opposes the project).

“The construction of the Trans-Caspian Pipeline would offer the prospect of gas deliveries from Turkmenistan to Bulgaria through the interconnectors with Greece and Turkey. This would be a major step towards a real diversification of gas supplies for our country,” Borissov said, as quoted by the government statement.

Bulgaria currently relies on Russian gas deliveries, but is slated to begin buying Azeri gas from the Shah Deniz field starting in 2019, following the completion of the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline through Turkey.

(Photo: government.bg)