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Bulgaria, Lithuania, Poland look to reduce dependence on Russian sources of energy

| 2022-03-22 2 min read

Bulgaria, Lithuania, Poland look to reduce dependence on Russian sources of energy

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Efforts to reduce dependency upon Russian sources of energy within countries in Central and Eastern Europe have taken on a new urgency following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine over three weeks ago.

Bulgaria’s Deputy Prime Minister Asen Vassilev says Bulgaria will not renew its contract with Gazprom when the 10-year agreement expires at the end of this year, reports Politico, which writes that Russia’s attack on Ukraine has Sofia pondering how they can decrease their dependence on Russian sources of gas – driving the pursuit of other options. The article notes that Russia’s energy companies Gazprom and Lukoil have deeply influenced Bulgaria’s energy policy for decades.

One option may soon open up, as a project to connect Bulgaria’s pipeline network with that of Greece – the Greece-Bulgaria Interconnector – will soon be finished and foster diversification of the country’s sources of gas. A new LNG terminal in Greece will also facilitate Bulgaria’s gas capacity. While Moscow likely pressured Sofia to scuttle that project, according to Western officials, it gives an option to Bulgaria’s new government, which is pro-Western.

Politico writes that Bulgaria is also counting on increasing gas supplies from Azerbaijan.

Lithuania, meanwhile, is making an effort to wean itself from all energy imports from neighbouring Russia, according to Al Jazeera, which reports that at a news conference Lithuania’s President Gitanas Nauseda offered Lithuania could provide a “good example” for Europe by doing that. Of its efforts to cut off Russian sources, he said, “The gas interlink with Poland, the power undersea link with Sweden, synchronising power system with continental Europe – this all illustrates that Lithuania is preparing to live totally without Russian energy resources.”

Meanwhile, the BBC reported that at a meeting of EU foreign and defence ministers in Brussels, Lithuania’s Foreign Minister, Gabrielius Landsbergis, called the energy sector “unavoidable” when it came to slapping sanctions on Russia. He commented, “And we definitely can talk about oil. Because it is the biggest revenue to [the] Russian budget and also it’s quite easily replaceable.” 

CEE Energy News writes that delivery of gas from Norway through the Baltic Pipe gas pipeline will commence later this year, to Poland and markets further afield in Central and Eastern Europe. The target date for putting it into operation is 1 October. With an eventual capacity of 10 billion cubic metres (bcm)/year, it will initially deliver 2-3 bcm. One part of the overall investment is the expansion of a gas compressor station, which will also facilitate delivery of gas purchases from Poland’s Swinoujscie LNG terminal.

Source: Politico, CEE Energy News, Al Jazeera, BBC