21 April, 2007
The Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline dominated Greek Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas’ talks in Sofia, before he headed for Ankara on Friday on the final leg of a two-day, three-country tour to discuss energy issues.
Sioufas held similar talks in Romania on Thursday morning.
He concluded his Bulgarian visit with a meeting Thursday night with the Greek Business Council of Sofia, with the talks focusing on the Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline, whose interstate agreement for construction was signed in mid-March in Athens between Greece, Bulgaria and Russia.
The minister had talks with representatives of the 80 Greek companies active in Bulgaria during a meeting at the Greek embassy in Sofia .
A first step in the new momentum in Greek-Bulgarian relations anticipated from the pipeline and Bulgaria's recent EU accession is an envisioned second connection of Greece's electricity grid, at Nea Santa (Public Power Corp. substation at Philippi), with one of Bulgaria's largest power plants, the Maritsa Iztok, via a high-voltage transmission interconnection.
This project was discussed in detail on Thursday night during a meeting between Sioufas and Bulgarian Economy and Energy Roumen Ovcharov.
Sioufas said during a joint pres conference with Ovcharov after their meeting that this was a mutually beneficial project, which would on the one hand substantially expand Bulgaria's abilities as an electrical power exporter not only to Greece but also to the SE Europe energy grid, while on the other hand it would stabilise the network of electricity supply to Greece from Bulgaria and other countries in the region in the event of an emergency.
Ovcharov assured Sioufas that the Bulgarian side will make every effort to maintain the existing rate of electrical power supply, which he said was capable of meeting potential extraordinary needs on Greece's side, despite Bulgaria's limited capabilities following the recent closure of reactors 3 and 4 of the Kozloduy nuclear power station.
Replying to press questions, Sioufas noted that Bulgaria's application for re-examination and review of the decision for closure of the two reactors was an issue that fell under the jurisdiction of the European Commission and the other EU bodies.
The state-run Public Power Corp.’s (PPC) prospective acquisition of the Bobov Dol power station in southwestern Bulgaria, when relevant negotiations are completed, would serve as another economic collaboration between the two countries.
Sioufas further announced that the PPC director would visit Sofia next week to discuss the problems that resulted in a new postponement of the Bobov Dol station's privatisation to April 30.
Greece's PPC won an international tender by the Bulgarian state for the privatisation of Bobov Dol in April 2005.
Ovcharov, on his part, cited a settlement of any outstanding issues surrounding the Bobov Dol deal, many of which fell under the authority of Bulgarian minister of environment and waters, Djevdet Chakurov.
Source: Athens News Agency