January 31, 2019 / 3:08 PM / 6 months ago

Bulgaria wins sufficient bids to proceed with gas pipeline

SOFIA, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Bulgaria will build a pipeline to transport mainly Russian natural gas to Serbia from its border with Turkey after three companies, including Gazprom, filed binding offers for capacity at its gas network, officials said on Thursday.

The project, which forms part of Bulgarian efforts to set up a regional gas hub, had hinged upon its ability to sell sufficient capacity to make the pipeline commercially viable.

Three companies have booked the offered capacity, state-owned gas network operator Bulgartansgaz said, allowing it to take a final investment decision to build a new 484km pipeline expected to carry gas from TurkStream pipeline.

"We have very good news," Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova said in parliament. "The economic test for the project to expand the gas network completed successfully and the offered capacity was booked 100 percent."

Bulgartransgaz officials said the other two bidders for capacity were Bulgaria's state-owned Bulgargaz and Swiss-headquatered energy company MET. (Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova Editing by David Goodman)

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