Parliament to investigate dubious gas deal
Parliament will establish a commission to review the liquefied natural gas supply agreement signed in January by the caretaker government of President Rumen Radev between state gas supplier Bulgargaz and Turkish state energy company BOTAŞ.
BSP had pushed for the commission but it was supported by all parties. At the request of GERB, its field of action was extended to the last two years instead of one and the commission will be led by Zhecho Stankov from GERB.
The agreement with BOTAŞ provides for the supply of gas through the infrastructure of the Turkish company for 1 billion cubic meters per year for 13 years. Bulgargaz did not get access to the Turkish transmission network, but only the right to unload tankers at a specified terminal and to receive the same amount of natural gas at its border. In return, the Bulgarian state company undertook to pay 3.8 billion levs just for fees to BOTAŞ for the agreement's period, regardless of whether it imports gas or not and the origin of the gas is unclear.
Culture employees demonstrate
The culture sector will receive 50 million levs more for performing arts and 28.5 million more for museums, community centers and libraries than last year, Finance Minister Assen Vassilev promised.
Vassilev's pledge on higher funds followed ongoing protests in the culture sector by cultural workers, musicians, artists, librarians and museum employees demanding more funds and higher wages. There were also demonstrations in other cities, including Burgas, Ruse and Shumen.
Oil derogation drama continues
At an emergency meeting the parliamentary energy commission did not vote for either of the two proposals for an earlier cancellation of the derogation for the import of Russian oil to Bulgaria. This followed Lukoil Group's announced intention to sell its refinery and oil business in Bulgaria.
Energy commission chief Delyan Dobrev made a proposal to drop the derogation from January 1 instead of October 2024. Such changes were supported by GERB and MRF, but WCC abstained and so the proposal was not accepted.