The new coalition government just announced its priorities in the energy sector for the 2017-2021 period. Notable priorities include:

1. Upstream focus Following the successful exploration of the two main offshore oil & gas blocks in the Black Sea – Han Asparuh (Total/OMV/Repsol) and Han Kubrat (Shell), the government will continue its support for the exploration and production from existing blocks. It will also launch a new tender for the Teres deep-water block. Development of the Balkan gas hub, a project deemed by the European Commission to be a project of common interest, will continue with the government’s launch of a tender for a feasibility study. Completion of the Balkan gas hub is a main priority of the Bulgarian government.

2. Interconnectors (with priority for natural gas) Given the considerably good interconnectivity that Bulgaria enjoys in the electricity sector, the new government focuses on completing the construction of the following gas interconnectors by 2020: Bulgaria to Greece; Bulgaria to Serbia; and Bulgaria to Turkey.

3. Full market liberalization for natural gas and electricity This priority, which has been carried over from previous years, has been broadened and now includes undertakings related to the upcoming changes in the Energy Act and the Renewable Energy Act, in line with the additional legislative changes needed to protect vulnerable customers.

4. New Energy Strategy for 2020-2030, with a horizon to 2050 Among the priorities of the new government is the preparation of a new national ‘Energy Strategy’ (the current one will expire in 2020). This strategy includes the government’s plans to implement the new EU targets for 2030 and to be in line with the environmental challenges related to climate change.

5. Nuclear energy The government plans to complete the life-extension of Units 5 and 6 of the Kozloduy NPP and to receive extensions of the licenses for these two blocks for an additional 10 years. The uprating of the electrical output of the units will be with at least 104%. The government is also planning to consider privatization of the Belene NPP project without long-term power purchase agreements and with no state guarantee, which is a serious challenge with slim chances of success.

For more information, please feel free to contact Kostadin Sirleshtov.