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Bulgaria energy regulation body proposes natural gas prices hike of 11%

Date: 16.12.2008

Bulgaria's State Energy and Water Regulatory Commission (DKEVR) provides for an 11,79% increase in the natural gas prices in the country for the first three months of 2009.

The announcement came after the gas monopoly Bulgargaz wanted a 21,31% hike in the gas prices.

The company, which is already part of the Bulgarian Energy Holding, submitted Wednesday its suggestion to the DKEVR last week.

The Bulgargaz proposal provides for a natural gas price of BGN 653,46 for 1 000 cubic meters, with the 20% value-added tax not included, which is an increase by BGN 114,80. The new price would include a transit fee of BGN 19,73.

Bulgargaz justifies its proposal with the more expensive US dollar, whose value has increased by 15,39%. In addition, the statement of the monopoly reminded that the DKEVR did not approve its suggestion to increase the natural gas prices by 36% in the fourth quarter of 2008, and voted for a 24% increase instead.

Bulgaria's DKEVR will decide on the new natural gas prices during its session on December 22 or 23, when it will also become clear how much the central heating costs would increase as the heating prices depend primarily on the natural gas prices.

On December 5, the Bulgarian cabinet decided to allocate BGN 160 M to Bulgargaz as part of a BGN 400 M anti-crisis package for the Bulgarian Energy Holding.

The funds would be used to cover Bulgargaz's expenses for deferring the natural gas payments owed to it by Bulgarian businesses until the 300% decrease of the global oil prices kicks in, and brings down the natural gas prices of the Russian provider Gazprom.

According to the present scheme, Gazprom's natural gas prices for Bulgaria are formed on the basis of the oil prices nine months ago. Thus, the present price levels are still based on the peak oil prices from the summer when a barrel of oil reached USD 147 on the world market.

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