"The production of our own natural gas ensures lower prices because there are no intermediaries and fees involved," Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said on Thursday. He and Economy, Energy and Tourism Minister Traicho Traikov launched natural gas extraction at the fields Kaliakra and Kavarna in the Bulgarian sector of the Black Sea.
The fields are operated by the UK's Melrose Resources. The launch was attended by UK Ambassador to Bulgaria Steve Williams.
"God willing, we will discover more fields, because this will be good for consumers," the Prime Minister said. He added that since his government took office in July 2009, gas prices have not risen, but have even dropped.
The two new fields will allow Bulgaria to meet at least 15 per cent of its domestic demand for natural gas, Borissov also said.
Kaliakra and Kavarna will yield 400 million cubic meters of gas annually. The price of the gas extracted there is 3 to 4 per cent lower than earlier levels, he said.
The government and the operator have agreed that 10 per cent of the output of the two fields will be stored up.
If it was not for these new deposits and for the summer talks with Russia, the price of natural gas would have been 13 per cent higher, Minister Traikov said.
He added that the Council of Ministers has allowed Melrose to probe for gas at two other sites in Northeastern Bulgaria. The Prime Minister said that the operator's investment, including the money put into the gas platform, stands at 320 million US dollars. This year's investment alone amounts to 75 million dollars.