MOSCOW, November 15 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s energy giant Gazprom and Bulgaria’s largest natural gas distribution company Bulgargaz signed on Thursday a new contract on the delivery of Russian gas to Bulgaria for the period until 2022.
The deal was signed during a working visit by Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller to Bulgaria.
The document envisions annual supplies of 2.9 billion cubic meters of natural gas initially via “a traditional gas transportation route,” and via the future South Stream gas pipeline after it becomes operational.
Gazprom delivered 2.81 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Bulgaria in 2011.
The signing of the new contract comes shortly after Russia and Bulgaria inked a final deal on Thursday to build the Bulgarian stretch of the South Stream gas pipeline project to bring Russian natural gas to Europe along the Black Sea seabed bypassing transit countries.
The offshore section of the South Stream gas pipeline will run under the Black Sea from the Russkaya compressor station to the Bulgarian coast. The total length of the Black Sea section will exceed 900 kilometers (559 miles) and its maximum depth will be more than two kilometers (1.24 miles).
Following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s orders, Gazprom has accelerated the South Stream pipeline’s construction schedule, with work now to begin before the end of 2012.
The pipeline’s commercial deliveries of natural gas to Europe are expected to start in the first quarter of 2016 and the project is set to reach its designed capacity of 63 billion cu m in 2018. The project’s cost, including the pipeline’s overland sections, is estimated at 16 billion euros ($20 billion).