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Bulgaria's Energy Minister Blames Predecesors for Gas Hike

Date: 02.07.2010

Bulgaria's Energy Minister, Traicho Traikov, has accused the previous government for the current price of the natural gas, which in his words could have been 30 % lower now.

“The price of the natural gas from”Bulgargaz” would have been 30% lower if the previous government had not changed the contract with Russia,” the Bulgarian Minister for Economy, Energy, and Tourism said in the Bulgarian city of Razgrad Friday.

During his tour among the country's enterprises, which are the biggest consumers of natural gas and electricity, Traikov said that the price for energy resources will continue to go up and down.

“Our goal is to avoid placing Bulgarian companies in a less favorable environment than the companies that operate on the same regional market,” he said, adding that one of Bulgaria's most important tasks is to create a free market for the energy resources.

“At the moment we have a market for electricity trading, as limited as it is, but we have no alternative for the natural gas. We are trying to build connection with the neighboring countries for natural gas delivery and in 1-2 years Russia will not be our only option for that,” the minister said.

Traikov noted the statement by the previous Energy Minister, Rumen Ovcharov, who said that he has done the drudgery with the contracts for natural gas with Russia.

“Ovcharov has apparently changed his opinion. Until yesterday he was saying that this was the best contract, and now he is calling it a “drudgery”. The truth is that this contract was never good. Otherwise, the price of natural gas would not have gone up by 30%,” Traikov commented.

The minister's visit to the Bulgarian Amilum plant, which is part of the biggest multinational food processing company Tate&Lyle, showed that despite the increase of the natural gas price, the big investors are not discontent with the business climate in the country.

At the meeting with the minister, Amilum has revealed their plan to increase their productivity by investing BGN 50 M in new powers in the next 1-2 years.

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