TurkStream gas pipeline
© Gazprom.com
TurkStream gas pipeline
Bulgaria has said that it will guarantee gas transit supplies to Greece and North Macedonia from the TurkStream pipeline, starting January 1, 2020.

The chief executive of the country's state gas firm Bulgartransgaz, Vladimir Malinov, told the 24 Chasa (24 Hours) newspaper that "Even if Russia's gas transit via Ukraine to Bulgaria through the Trans-Balkan gas pipeline is suspended in the beginning of next year, we are prepared."

He also remarked that, on November 30, Turkey had made a 'golden' weld joint connecting TurkStream to the Balkan Stream line.

According to Malinov, as early as this week Bulgartransgaz will start filling with gas the TurkStream pipeline's 11-kilometer section that runs through Bulgaria.

The TurkStream project was created as an alternative to the South Stream route through Bulgaria. In 2014, Sofia suspended work on the South Stream project, citing lack of permission from the EU. This prompted Russia to cancel the project and launch the Turkish Stream (TurkStream) project instead.

The Turkish Stream project consists of two lines with a combined annual capacity of 31.5 billion cubic meters. The first branch will deliver Russian natural gas directly to Turkey, while the second stretching to the Turkish-Europe border to reach European customers. The first deliveries of Russian gas via the pipeline are scheduled for the end of this year.