TMK Shows Interest in Bulgaria Gas Pipeline Contract

Russian oil and gas pipe maker TMK said on Wednesday it was interested in bidding for the construction of a gas pipeline in Bulgaria, as Sofia looks to secure a link with the Moscow-designed TurkStream gas pipeline, Reuters reported.

Bulgaria sees a line of TurkStream, from Turkey to Serbia, as part of its plan to set up a regional gas hub and get the pipeline extended to central Europe. Bulgaria recently issued a tender for the expansion of its domestic gas network.

“TMK is considering the possibility of participation in the Bulgartransgaz tender aimed at Bulgaria’s gas transportation system expansion,” a TMK spokesman said.

TMK is currently not involved in any gas pipeline project in Turkey or Bulgaria, he added.

The politically controversial TurkStream, which goes under the Black Sea from Russia to Turkey, is part of Russia’s efforts to bypass its political foe Ukraine, a key route for lucrative Russian gas exports to Europe. Some EU members and the United States have repeatedly voiced their concerns over Europe’s energy dependence on Russia.

The first line of the pipeline, with a capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters per year, will feed Turkey’s local market. Another line with a similar volume is mooted for customers in southeastern Europe. Russian gas giant Gazprom must choose from two possible routes for TurkStream: via Bulgaria or through Greece. So far, the company has not said officially whether it has picked either route.

Next week, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev will travel to Bulgaria to discuss and sign a number of documents, including on energy, the government said earlier this week without elaborating.