Bulgaria: rival pipelines important for energy security
UPI reports that Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov said there was a strong need to diversify the European energy sector in light of the 2009 decision by Russian energy monopoly Gazprom to cut gas supplies to Ukraine in the dead of winter.
Bulgaria backs the South Stream natural gas pipeline, but Minister Mladenov said that while the Russian led project was "very important," the rival Nabucco pipeline was a "priority" for Bulgaria.
The Ukrainian gas transit system carries 80 percent of all Russian gas bound for Europe. The issue of gas transit and energy security was again bought to the forefront by recent Belarus-Russia dispute.
The path for Nabucco includes a 256-mile leg through Bulgaria, while South Stream would divide into two pipelines -- one to Greece and the other through the Balkans -- once it reaches the Bulgarian coast.
Energy analysts predict that Europe could face natural gas shortages as early as 2015.
Nabucco is expected to start gas deliveries in 2014. South Stream would follow in 2015.