SOFIA, April 27 Bulgaria wants to renegotiate
gas prices with Gazprom more often than proposed by
the Russian gas company as a concession in an EU antitrust case,
its energy minister said on Thursday.
Interim Energy Minister Nikolai Pavlov said Bulgaria would
also seek to be granted access to the gas markets of other
eastern European countries - an option that Gazprom's
concessions envision for Slovakia, Hungary and Poland.
A provisional agreement announced last month would see
Gazprom avoid a fine of up to 10 percent of its global turnover
over EU charges it abused its dominant market position and
overcharged clients in eight eastern European nations.
The deal is subject to feedback from EU states and market
players that should be sent by May 4.
Pavlov has said there are a lot of ambiguities in the
proposed concessions and that Bulgaria, almost fully reliant on
Russian gas supplies, may need more time to prepare its
Gazprom has offered to link its prices to benchmarks such as
European gas market hub prices, rather than oil, and allow
clients to renegotiate prices every two years among other
"We want to be able to renegotiate gas prices every year and
in the first two years every six months," Pavlov told national
"What is also raising concerns is that Gazprom had offered
access to the Bulgarian market to companies from Hungary,
Slovakia and Poland, while there is no reciprocity."
Pavlov said Sofia would object to this commitment linked to
gas delivery access points and would demand that Bulgarian
companies also be granted access to the markets of other eastern
Sofia said such access may put pressure on its gas utility
Bulgargaz to carry out its obligations under the Gazprom
contract and would also seek to scrap or at least decrease the
"take-or-pay" option in the contract to avoid eventual losses.
"Our goal is that contracts with Gazprom be renegotiated
under better conditions," Pavlov said.
(Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; editing by Jason Neely)