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Key Economic Data 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
Millions of US $ 19,859 15,608 13,600 69
GNI per capita
 US $ 2,130 1,790 1,650 106
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Bulgaria


Update No: 158 - (27/07/10)

A new energy frontier?
The world economy is beset by problems with energy, a key dynamo of growth. The BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico has made everyone apprehensive of the environmental hazards, if they weren't already.

The search is on for locations, less in the media spotlight, of oil and gas further away from Western habitation, if things go wrong.

Its own gas?
Chevron Corp has applied for a permit to explore for natural gas in shale deposits in north-eastern Bulgaria near the Romanian border, not a place that is all that media sensitive. It will of course try to make any project that materialises as ecologically sound as possible. Wherever located, an oil or gas spill loses an energy company a lot of money.

Bulgaria’s shale gas deposits are estimated at 25 billion cubic meters, James Warlick, the U.S. Ambassador in Sofia said, and cited estimates from San Ramon, California-based Chevron. They are in remote parts of the country.

The Black Sea country seeks to reduce its dependence on Russia, from which it imports all its natural gas. Bulgaria consumes about 5 billion cubic meters of gas a year.

Its own oil?
But there is also oil. Total SA, Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and other international oil companies have shown interest in a deep-water drilling permit in the Black Sea off Bulgaria, Deloitte Bulgaria Chairman Ilian Vassilev said.

The Bulgarian government has invited applications for deep- water drilling near the country’s southern Black Sea coast over an area of 6,940 square kilometres (4,313 square miles) known as the Silistar bloc, Vassilev said in an interview in Sofia yesterday. Deloitte advises the government on exploration projects.

“The documents for the tender dossier are available for purchase until the end of this month,” Vassilev said. “There is international interest in the tender, as this is the first deep-water drilling permit issued by Bulgaria.”

The Black Sea, which for 40 years divided the Soviet bloc from U.S. ally Turkey, is now a frontier region, attracting explorers from as far away as Brazil and Texas. The post-Cold War thaw, combined with record-high energy prices and technological advances, has led oil companies to reconsider its deep, unexplored waters.

Turkey is the region’s most intense explorer of the Black Sea, while Bulgaria and Romania have explored the sea’s shallow, coastal waters. There are three deep-water exploratory wells so far, off Turkey’s coast. The Black Sea has an average depth of 2,000 meters, which hinders drilling as most countries in the region lack experience and equipment.

Turkey’s state oil company Turkiye Petrolleri AO, invested $5 billion in the past decade to explore the Black Sea and has identified 10 drilling prospects to cover Turkey’s consumption for 40 years, Chief Executive Officer Mehmet Uysal said in an October 1 interview.

Bulgaria’s announcement of the tender coincides with efforts by the European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm, to limit deep-water drilling following BP plc’s spill in the Gulf of Mexico. EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger urged governments not to grant oil-exploration permits for six months.

Anadarko Petroleum Corp, a Texas-based oil company, holds a stake in the leaking Gulf of Mexico Macondo well.

Bulgarian economy returns to growth

16 July 2010 | 12:59 | FOCUS News Agency
The World Bank has announced that 10 Eastern European countries that joined the EU in 2004 and 2007 are reporting an economic growth for the first time since the start of the global financial meltdown in 2008. In the first quarter of 2010 the countries registered 0.8% growth, the Washington Post writes.

At the same time the World Bank study, which will be released soon, says that the recovery is weak. Bank experts say that countries will not return to pre-crisis growth until next year.

The ten countries that have returned to economic growth are Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Hungary.

EU report praises progress in Bulgaria
Romania was harshly criticised for its failure to tackle corruption on July 20, as the European Union released a report that also praised Bulgaria for the growing momentum behind its reforms.

The document, from the European Commission, detailed how Romania and Bulgaria, which joined the European Union in 2007, were fighting rampant fraud, corruption and organized crime.

In doing so, it outlined some of the reasons behind doubts about whether either country was ready to become part of the European Union, which now has 27 members. While Bulgaria’s government was complemented on its efforts to root out serious problems, Romania was told that its performance revealed “important shortcomings.”

Until recently, European officials had been more concerned about the failings in Bulgaria. Earlier in July, a separate report on fraud underlined the fact that Bulgaria remained a serious problem. It showed that one in five E.U. farm subsidy payments was subject to fraud.

Bulgaria and Romania have been under special scrutiny since they joined the Union because of concerns over high levels of corruption.

The report urged both countries to improve their judicial systems and increase prosecution of high-level corruption, also to improve the public procurement process.

“For the first time, we see real political will in Bulgaria to push through reform,” said Mark Gray, a spokesman for the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union.

Bulgaria’s prime minister, Boiko Borisov, described the report on his country as the most positive so far from the commission. “But I also want to see where the criticisms are and prepare a plan to overcome them,” he added. 

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