Lukoil to sell Bulgarian refinery business
Lukoil Group has started reviewing the ownership of its assets in Bulgaria, the company announced on its website. "Given the significant change in the conditions for carrying out the activities of the enterprises of the Lukoil group on the territory of Bulgaria, the company has started work on revising its strategy regarding the ownership of the Burgas refinery. With the help of international consultants, various options will be analyzed, including the sale of the business".
Lukoil cited the discriminatory laws and other "unfair, biased political decisions towards the refinery" emanating from the Bulgarian state as the reason for the intended sale. The decision, which is not altogether surprising, follows an ongoing debate about the EU oil derogation granted to Bulgaria. GERB and MRF favor ending the derogation now while WCC is more inclined to extend it.
There is not believed to be any risk to the country's oil supplies, according to Assen Vassilev, finance minister.
Winter kicks in, coal struggles
Bulgaria's coal plants increased their workload by only 10% in November compared to October despite the colder weather, record low prices for carbon quotas and one nuclear unit of the Kozloduy NPP being out of action for half the period.
November's data shows that coal-fired electricity makes Bulgaria uncompetitive on the regional market and the country was a net importer of electricity for the second time this year - with roughly 60 thousand mWh.
Coal-fired electricity fails to sell domestically and in the region, and it is more profitable for consumers to import electricity from Romania. With 3.1 million mWh of electricity produced, Bulgaria imported or transited more than 300 thousand mWh of current from its northern neighbor.
Bulgarians lose interest in voting
More voters are saying they would abstain in the next parliamentary elections, according to a new survey. Only 36 percent said they would certainly cast a ballot, according to a poll conducted by Alpha Research among 1,000 people in the final week of November.
The agency specifies that the growing apathy is unsurprising as support for politicians, parties and institutions is low. This affects all the main parties which are losing voters.
The winner of possible elections would be GERB with 21.9% of the vote, WCC-DB would be second with 17.8%, and Vazrazhdane third with 12.2%.