North Macedonia will demand compensation from Bulgaria if it has to pay tax for the transit transfer of Russian gas 

If an gas energy tax is imposed on the transfer and transit of Russian natural gas through Bulgarian territory and it is extended to the Republic of North Macedonia, the country will seek compensation from Bulgaria and additional support from the European Union, according to Kreshnik Bekteshi, the Minister of Economy of North Macedonia.

Starting from October 13, Bulgaria has implemented an extraordinary energy tax of BGN 20/mWh on the transmission and transit of Russian natural gas through its territory. The aim is to reduce the profitability of Gazprom’s gas deliveries through Bulgaria.

The new tax aligns with the EU’s objectives of reducing reliance on Russian fossil fuels. Given that the majority of Gazprom’s contracts are determined at the point of delivery in a particular country, it is unlikely to impact downstream gas prices. Instead, it will primarily affect Gazprom’s profits

stated Bulgarian Finance Minister Asen Vassilev in a recent interview with the Financial Times.

He also mentioned that the Bulgarian government has informed the European Commission about these changes.

The gas pipeline running through Bulgaria to Serbia is the sole means by which North Macedonia receives its gas supply.

If they impose a fee on the natural gas originating from Gazprom, which is within their rights, then Gazprom should release the gas quantities to North Macedonia. This is our demand. We do not intend to meddle in Bulgaria’s fiscal policies, but regarding market liberalization, we have every right to expect the EU to demand it from their member states. We have already alerted the European Energy Community and the European Commission

Bekteshi responded to a journalist’s inquiry during a business forum organized by the Delegation of the German Economy in the country.

Bekteshi emphasized that there has been a proposal from Bulgaria to construct a new gas pipeline between the two countries. Additionally, the construction of a new gas pipeline with Greece is scheduled to commence by the end of the year, with support from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the country’s strategic partners.

We will not tolerate any form of blackmail, whether from Bulgaria or any other entity. We will persist in diversifying our gas supply sources. We have already initiated this process, and there is no compromise on this issue. Regarding the release of capacities, this is an obligation of the European Union, as it pertains to the principles of complete market liberalization

Bekteshi explained.

He further specified that North Macedonia insists on the release of capacities, enabling the country to receive gas from alternative sources, including Azerbaijan and potentially through terminals in Greece.

The construction of a new Petrich-Strumica gas interconnector was among the topics discussed during the infrastructure, transport, and energy working group meetings in March of the previous year, with the participation of the then Minister of Energy of Bulgaria, Alexander Nikolov, and the Minister of Economy of the Republic of North Macedonia, Kreshnik Bekteshi.

Bekteshi noted that the gas quantities released in the previous year were insufficient for North Macedonia’s needs, which will undoubtedly impact the price of natural gas, particularly for the country’s economic requirements.

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