Bulgaria to Receive US LNG Deliveries Starting in June

(Reuters) — Bulgaria has agreed to purchase two shipments of U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) for June and is in talks for a long-term contract for U.S. deliveries after Russia's Gazprom cut off gas supplies to Sofia, Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said on Wednesday.

The U.S. gas will come at a better price than Gazprom's, Petkov said upon his return from a visit to Washington, where he met with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris and other U.S. officials.

Gazprom cut off gas deliveries to European Union members Bulgaria and Poland on April 27 over their refusal to pay in rubles. Bulgaria consumes about 3 billion cubic meters (Bcm) of gas per year, of which over 90% was coming from Russia. 

"For June, we already have two tankers with LNG, at prices slightly below the one of Gazprom. We are now starting talks for a long-term contract, where the prices will be even lower," Petkov told reporters.

The shipments were not part of the U.S. plan to supply 15 Bcm of LNG to the European Union this year to help wean it off Russian energy supplies, Petkov said.

The EU is aiming to cut its dependency on Russian gas by two-thirds this year and end all Russian fossil fuel imports by 2027 due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. 

"We have negotiated deliveries specifically for Bulgaria, which also showed the support of our partners," Petkov said, adding that the LNG gas will come either from neighboring Greek or Turkish LNG terminals.

Bulgaria has stepped up talks with Azerbaijan to increase gas deliveries and was looking at other LNG deals via terminals in Greece and Turkey. Bulgaria also has called for common EU gas purchases to make prices more competitive.

"No one should think that we are simply replacing one supplier with another. We are looking for the most lucrative prices from all suppliers," Petkov said.

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