06:15 GMT +320 October 2019
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    Employees of the state-owned storage and transmission operator Bulgartransgas stand in front of a gas compressor station near the town of Provadia, some 410 kms east of capital Sofia.

    Bulgaria Wants to Keep Russian Gas Deliveries Despite Alternatives

    © AFP 2019 / NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV
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    Bulgaria's Deputy Prime Minister for Demographic and Social Policies Ivailo Kalfin said that at the moment Europe is trying to limit dependency on Russian gas - but currently has no alternative to it.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Bulgaria has alternatives to Russian natural gas, but would prefer the deliveries of Russian fuel to continue, Bulgaria's Deputy Prime Minister for Demographic and Social Policies Ivailo Kalfin told RIA Novosti Thursday.

    "It is important for us to preserve the possibility of Russian gas deliveries, of Russian gas transit. The question is how to organize it at the most favorable conditions," Kalfin said, adding that Bulgaria currently has certain alternatives to Russian gas supplies, including the deliveries through Greece and Slovakia.

    Kalfin noted that it's not only the Bulgarian market that matters for Sofia, but also gas deliveries to the rest of Europe.

    Earlier on Thursday, during his meeting with Konstantin Kosachev, the chairman of Russia's upper house committee for foreign affairs, Kalfin said that at the moment Europe is trying to limit dependency on Russian gas — but currently has no alternative to it.

    In December, 2014 Russia abandoned its South Stream pipeline project that was to bring Russian gas across the Black Sea through Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and Slovenia to Italy and Austria.

    The project was scrapped mainly due to the nonconstructive stance taken by the European Union. The European Commission claimed that the project would violate the EU Third Energy Package that prohibits simultaneous ownership of both the gas and the pipeline through which it flows.

    As a substitute to the South Stream project, Russia's energy giant Gazprom unveiled an alternative project to build a pipeline across Turkey, with a gas hub on the Turkish-Greek border. This would give several countries, including Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary an opportunity to take part in a new project on gas transit to Western Europe.

    At the moment, Balkan countries through which the South Stream was supposed to pass, have no alternative gas sources and no other means of making money on gas transit.

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