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Baku. The forthcoming liberalization of gas market opens good perspective for State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR). The Bulgarian government has already brought this issue up and till 2013 it will possibly take real steps.
Bulgaria and Azerbaijan started talks on cooperation in the gas industry in 2009 and signed the memorandum, according to which Bulgarian officials have expressed a desire to import 1 million cub.m. of natural gas from Azerbaijan.
In October 2011 Azerbaijan and Turkey signed the packet of gas agreements, according to which all commercial and juridical issues on Azerbaijani gas transit via Turkey have been solved, and Bulgaria has intensified talks with SOCAR and Azerbaijan.
According to Turan agency, SOCAR considers possibility of its breaking into the Bulgarian gas market on a long-term basis. Representatives of the Bulgarian Gas Ministry have visited Baku to familiarize SOCAR specialists with the current situation and perspectives of the gas market.
Last week after his visit to Turkey Bulgarian Minister of Economy, Energy and Tourism Delyan Dobrev said that "private Turkish companies are interested in natural gas deliveries to Bulgaria." Bulgarian Novinite agency cited Minister as saying that "Bulgaria is interested in that, because we decided to liberalize the gas market in the country."
"We urge not only Turkish companies, but also the companies from all over Europe to consider possibility of gas export to Bulgaria," Dobrev said.
During 2011 Bulgaria imported 2.81 billion cub.m. of gas from Russia. At present the project of construction of the 76-km-long connecting gas pipeline between Turkey and Bulgaria is under consideration. As soon as the pipeline is put into operation, Bulgaria will be able to diversify its gas market. Azerbaijan will get a chance to start deliveries to Bulgaria in 2013 not waiting for putting of TANAP pipeline into operation and completion of Stage-2 project of Shah-Deniz, which are scheduled for early 2018.