Turkey has given Bulgaria access to its liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals, opening up a tightly controlled corner of the European gas market that could help diversify the region’s supply mix.
Bulgaria’s state-owned Bulgargaz EAD can import LNG through Turkish terminals and networks for 13 years under an agreement signed in Sofia on Tuesday. Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Donmez told reporters that Bulgaria can use a total of about 1.5 billion cubic meters of power per year. When the capacity is full, it will cover about half of Bulgaria’s domestic demand.
The deal opens a new supply route to Southeast Europe after Russia restricted shipping to the continent following its invasion of Ukraine. In the past, Bulgaria’s shortest route to LNG was through Greece, where buyers must compete for berths under European Union rules.
Turkey, which is outside the EU but connected to it by a pipeline, is not bound by these rules and has excess capacity.
“Thanks to this agreement, we can now buy gas from producers all over the world,” Bulgarian Energy Minister Rosen Hristov told reporters. “This is not only a nationally and regionally important solution, but also important for Europe.”
Western Europe is rushing to build new infrastructure to replace Russian gas, but Turkey used less than half of the 21.9 million tons of capacity of its four LNG terminals last year, according to Bloomberg. The fifth facility will become operational at the end of this month.