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(DF) Regulator Raises Natural Gas Price for January by Nearly 30.4%

January 1 (BTA) - The Energy and Water Regulatory Commission (EWRC) Saturday set the natural gas price for January at 133.41 leva/MWh, up by 30.37 per cent from 102.33 leva/MWh in December, the regulator said. This decision was based on public supplier Bulgargaz's proposal. The regulator said the increase also reflected a surge on the international gas markets since December 10 when Bulgargaz proposed a January price of 117.12 leva/MWh. EWRC Chairman Ivan Ivanov commented that the regulator can by no means curb a rise in the gas price. He voiced his concern that this upsurge, which is entirely due to external factors, had dire implications for the district heating companies using natural gas, which accounts for 60 to 70 per cent of the heating service. He commented that after Parliament imposed a moratorium on the prices of electricity, heat and water in December, those companies continued providing heating at the price of natural gas of July 31, 2021, although they pay nearly three times more for it. The regulator called for a mechanism for urgent compensation to the heating utilities and all other natural gas users. Otherwise the heating companies may not be able to pay Bulgargaz, which in turn is obliged to pay for gas deliveries in advance. This could lead to intercompany indebtedness on a scale that might put at risk Bulgaria's energy system and economy, said Ivanov. In response to strong public interest in natural gas supplies and prices, Bulgargaz Saturday said deliveries to Bulgaria were not at risk. The company added that Europe is going through a gas crisis as storage facilities have not been filled up and prices have reached record high levels, including due to fears of a shortage. Bulgargaz said that even if Bulgaria received the entire agreed volume of Azeri gas, it would not avert the January price hike. Azeri gas cannot solve the problem of high prices on the international oil and gas markets. The company explained that the only delivery route for Azeri gas to Bulgaria is the Gas Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB), which is still under construction. However, as a stopgap solution, Bulgargaz has agreed Azeri gas deliveries through another pipeline, about 300 km away from IGB. Bulgargaz added that it is up to the will and capacity of the Azeri side to deliver the agreed volume to the alternative gas pipeline in full. Bulgargaz also said on its website that in 2021 it sold natural gas to Bulgarian customers at prices that were "considerably lower than those on the European gas markets, including to heating and gas distribution companies and big industrial customers". DD 02 Януари 2022, 08:00

Източник: BTA Free News

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