New Energy Reality
The recently announced official decision of the Russian Federation to withdraw its support to the “South Stream” gas mega project led to an unexpected and challenging situation for Bulgaria and all affected European countries.
Bulgaria’s energy reality was utterly changed due to the high expectations regarding “South Stream” and all associated positive implications for the economy as a result of its realization and operation. Bulgaria was practically deprived from its participation in a large energy project that would have provided a series of opportunities for recovery and stimulation of the economy as well as re-calculation of the state budget figures.
What could be Bulgaria’s benefits from the entirely changed energy situation?
Along with all direct negative consequences from the “South Stream” project suspension there are several positive factors that could be beneficial for the national economy re-writing Bulgaria’s energy strategy.
• Restoration of the plans on natural gas yield on the territory of Bulgaria
Almost simultaneously with the officially announced Russian position regarding the future of the “South Stream” energy project Bulgaria’s government made formal steps towards the restoration of the work on natural gas yield on the territory of the country. This idea was subject to a moratorium being previously opposed by ecologists and various social groups, but given the super modern technologies it seems entirely applicable at this stage especially taking into account the need for providing a certain level of national energy independence.
• Improvement of Bulgaria’s international image
In the context of the increasing tension between the West (including the European union) on the one hand and Russia on the other, Bulgaria’s tough position in favor of the European interests was highly appreciated by the European Commission and especially the economically strong EU member states. Bulgaria’s unambiguous behavior in this regard will be certainly noted by its strong European allies. The country demonstrated once again its European orientation and can expect solidarity and actual economic and energy support from its rich partners.
Hardly could the suspension of such a grand energy project like “South Stream” be considered positive, but we should take into account some positive aspects of this situation. Only time will, however, prove how much Bulgaria will lose and how much it will benefit from the new energy reality.