Despite Bulgaria's state of emergency, on Friday 3 April Bulgarian lawmakers filed a draft Bill to parliament for amendment and supplement of the Underground Resources Act.

The Minister of Energy published the first draft of the Bill in April 2019 for public discussion. This draft attracted much attention and received widespread feedback since it represented the largest amendment and supplement to the Underground Resources Act in years.

Among other things, the Bill recommends more comprehensive procedures for awarding concessions, opportunities for amendments of concession agreements and for prolongation of the term of awarded concessions. (A complete review of the proposed amendments can be found here.

Currently, parliament is not adhering to its regular schedule due to the state of emergency. It is only voting on emergency measures and is dealing with the development of the current situation.

Normally, voting for a draft bill is conducted over two parliamentary sittings. During the first session, the Bill is voted on in principle and in its entirety. Then proposals for changing specific provisions can be made within seven days. Afterwards, the national assembly will conduct a text-by-text vote. As an exception in this case, if there are no suggestions for amendments, the Bill may be voted on in one sitting. The passed bill will be subject to promulgation in the State Gazette to become law.