On 6 March 2015 an amendment of the Bulgarian Public Procurement Act entered into force exempting the exploration of oil and natural gas from the application of public procurement. This is the first step of Bulgaria’s implementation of the Directive 2014/25/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 February 2014 on procurement by entities operating in the water, energy, transport and postal services sectors. 

So far, oil and gas companies operating in Bulgaria had to apply the stringent public procurement procedures for retaining their contractors in the exploration activities. The exemption should impulse the exploration of domestic resources, which has become a priority policy for Bulgaria’s energy economy after the cancellation of the strategic projects of Nabucco and South Stream in the past few years. 

The exemption comes just before the official start of the newly announced tenders for the offshore exploration blocks Silistar and Teres. The new law will be for the benefit of current as well as future oil and gas exploration projects.