Books on Bulgaria
Update No: 158 -
A new energy
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,
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
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
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
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.