Midst this year, the Bulgarian lawmakers decided on new requirements for gas traders to be present on the market.

Starting 1 October 2021, gas traders must be licensed to trade in Bulgaria.

In order to receive a licence, gas traders must file applications with the Energy and Water Regulatory Commission beginning 1 January 2021 where applications will be examined on a ‘first come, first served’ principle. To receive a licence, gas traders must prove to the Regulator that they have the necessary experience, financial means and technical capacities for carrying out these activities.

Although the new licensing starting date begins in less than two months, secondary legislation dealing with the requirements for the procedure is still not in place, which will pose a challenge for the Regulator and likely result in delays in the issuance of the first gas-trading licences.

According to the procedure currently in place, it should take the Regulator three months to issue a licence after all documents and information are in place. We have seen cases when this period has been significantly prolonged due to lack of legislation.

When fully established, the new licensing procedure together with the existing gas hub and the newly constructed gas transmission infrastructure is expected to bode well for the future of natural gas in Bulgaria in the years to come.