Greece, Bulgaria hail deal targeting Russia gas dominance

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Greece and Bulgaria sought to reduce their reliance on Russian gas with the signing Monday of an agreement that will allow Bulgaria to participate in a planned liquefied natural gas terminal in northeastern Greece.

The project, which has strong support from the United States, is aimed at boosting energy diversification in southeastern Europe, a region largely reliant on Russian natural gas.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and his Bulgarian counterpart, Boiko Borisov, were present for the signing of the agreement under which Bulgaria’s state-controlled Bulgartransgaz will acquire a 20% stake in the Greek company, Gastrade, that is developing the LNG terminal outside the Greek city of Alexandroupolis.

“This large investment will help our ultimate goal of turning our easternmost port into a global energy hub,” Mitsotakis said.

“The benefits are also geopolitical: A new axis of diversification of natural gas routes is being created not only for Bulgaria but also for central Europe which will no longer have a single source of energy.”

Bulgarian participation in the venture is tied to a separate pipeline project that will be used to transport the gas northward.

Monday’s ceremony was also attended by the U.S. ambassador to Greece, Geoffrey Pyatt.

The terminal at Alexandroupolis is due to start operating in 2022.