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(RFE/RL) 6 January 2006 -- Bulgaria's energy minister says his country rejects an attempt by Russia's Gazprom to raise the price it charges for its gas.


Bulgaria's domestic consumption is almost totally dependent on Russian gas. The country is also a transit route to its neighbors Turkey, Greece, and Macedonia.


Gazprom pays transit fees to Bulgaria in the form of gas priced at around $83 per 1,000 cubic meters. For additional gas, Bulgaria pays $257 dollars per 1,000 cubic meters.


Bulgarian officials say Gazprom is pushing Bulgaria to switch to a system under which it pays transit fees in cash and Bulgaria buys all its gas at market prices.


Energy and economy minister Rumen Ovcharov said today the offer is "unacceptable."


Gazprom officials were not available for comment today, a public holiday in Russia.


A row over gas prices led Russia to cut supplies to Ukraine on 1 January. The dispute was resolved with the signing of a new five-year deal on 4 January.


(Reuters/AFP/btv.bg)

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