Bulgaria has announced that it will start taking delivery of natural gas from Russia's Gazprom via the TurkStream pipeline from January 1, in a move that it claims will save it tens of millions of dollars per year in fees by avoiding transit through Ukraine and Romania.
Energy Minister Tememoujka Petkova on December 30 cited "economic impact and the better conditions for Bulgarian consumers" as the reason for the move, which required an 11-kilometer link between the Bulgarian network and the TurkStream pipeline at the border with Turkey.
"We are changing the entry point for gas supplies from Russia," Petkova said.
Bulgaria is almost wholly dependent on Russia for its roughly 3 billion cubic meters in annual gas consumption.
Its gas imports were cut off during a gas dispute between Russia and Ukraine in January 2009, accelerating efforts to diversity, including via a recently launched pipeline for Caspian Sea gas via Greece.
The TurkStream dual pipeline project is slated to launch deliveries in January and should provide 2.9 billion cubic meters of gas per year.
It is aimed, in part, at bypassing Ukraine.
A first TurkStream pipeline should supply Turkey and another continue from Bulgaria to Serbia and Hungary.
It is also building a link from the TurkStream line to deliver Russian gas to Serbia.