EU nightmare: Member state turns back on bloc and begs RUSSIA for help on energy

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Bulgaria’s interim energy minister said it was “inevitable” that the Balkan country would discuss resuming gas deliveries with Russia’s Gazprom that were halted in April after the government promised to secure adequate supplies for the winter.

Rossen Hristov did not say when negotiations with the Russian company will start but said they would be needed to secure cheaper gas for the country.

“Given the demands of business and the trade unions, in reality, talks with Gazprom to renew supplies are inevitable,” Mr Hristov told reporters.

The European Union country had been meeting more than 90 percent of its gas needs with Russian deliveries until April when Gazprom cut supplies to Bulgaria over the previous government’s refusal to pay in roubles.

Its long-term contract with Gazprom expires at the end of 2022.

Wholesale gas prices have jumped by about 60 percent to about 300 levs (£129.7) per megawatt hour in August.

Business organisations and trade unions said high gas prices were hitting industry and called on the government to seek ways to resume Russian gas imports, which would be cheaper than buying on the open market.

Sofia is starting talks with Azerbaijan this week to boost Azeri supplies and would also discuss deliveries with Turkish gas traders, Mr Hristov said.

The interim government has decided to seal a deal with US gas company Cheniere for just one cargo of liquefied natural gas for October, saying it could not secure slots at LNG terminals at affordable prices for the other six cargos secured by the previous Cabinet.

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