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President Radev Comments on Renegotiating Contract with Turkish Company BOTAS

President Rumen Radev told journalists on Saturday that the contract with the Turkish energy company BOTAS, concluded during the time of the caretaker government appointed by him, was part of the diversification of energy for Bulgaria. 
Radev stressed that the contract was concluded in critical circumstances, when the Petkov cabinet left the country “without gas, without an interconnector, with nothing”. “When analyzing a contract of this magnitude, when evaluating it, it should be clear that this contract needs to be looked at much more comprehensively, with a much wider range of issues. Not only in the current situation at the current stage, but also what are the trends for the gas market in the region and for gas consumption,” said Radev.
The contract with BOTAS is for access to the liquefied gas terminals, of which there are five in Turkiye with a capacity of 30 billion cubic metres and transmission through the BOTAS network, Radev explained. He argued that the better questions to ask are why didn’t Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria (CC-DB) take advantage of the opportunity and use this capacity to support Bulgaria selling gas, instead of just for transit, and make use of its geostrategic position. He also pondered why Bulgargaz almost went bankrupt during the CC-DB governments both times, and why the both the CC-DB governments, who are vocally opposed to Putin, continued to import gas from that single direction under their rule.
Radev argued that there are two possibilities for this contract – to use it to support the future possibility of Bulgaria selling gas, or reconsider it. He urged that any decisions be taken with regard to the future as well as the current situation. 
On Friday, Parliament instructed the Minister of Energy to take the necessary actions to renegotiate the agreement with BOTAS.
Caretaker Minister Vladimir Malinov said on Saturday that as soon as he receives the decision of the National Assembly, taken on Friday, he will implement it in full. “The moment I receive it, I will respectively assign Bulgargaz and colleagues from Bulgarian Energy Holding to prepare a specific scenario that will be justified both from a financial and economic point of view, as well as from the point of view of security and ensuring continuity and security of supplies, and will immediately take action at the political level towards the Turkish colleagues and, respectively, towards BOTAS”, commented the Minister.
When asked whether Bulgaria has losses due to this contract,  Malinov explained that he first wants to familiarize himself with the document and its analysis in detail.
At the beginning of 2023, the caretaker government of Galab Donev approved the conclusion of an agreement between Bulgargaz and the Turkish company BOTAS, signed in Sofia on January 3, with a term of 13 years. The document provides Bulgargaz access to the terminals for regasification of liquefied natural gas and its subsequent transfer to the territory of Bulgaria. Subsequently, it was rumored that Bulgaria lost millions of BGN from this contract, and that its was not agreed upon with the Council of Ministers and only eight ministers signed it, which would make this act illegitimate.
GERB leader Boyko Borissov also commented on the contract with BOTAS. “To date it is unprofitable, but when the ban on Russian gas in Europe comes, then it will become profitable,” he told journalists. According to him, the war in Ukraine will last for a long time and as Russian oil is banned, Russian gas will be banned as well.