Bulgaria state-owned gas operator Bulgargaz has signed a long-term deal with Turkish state gas firm Botas to get access to the gas network and liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals in Turkey to ensure continuous supplies.

Under the 13-year agreement, Bulgargaz will have access to Turkey’s LNG terminals for cargo shipments, which would then be transported to Bulgaria via Botas’s gas network.

The move is part of Bulgaria’s strategy to diversify its gas supply away from Russia.

In April last year, Russia blocked gas supplies to Bulgaria after it refused to pay for gas in roubles in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

Bulgaria interim Energy Minister Rossen Hristov was quoted by Reuters as saying: “With this agreement, we are securing the opportunity to buy gas from all global producers and offload it in Turkey, which best suits Bulgaria logistically.”

Bulgaria currently imports one billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas from Azerbaijan to meet a third of its annual gas demand. It also contracts traders for gas supplies through Greece.

Turkey Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Fatih Dönmez said: “The agreement will also be an important step in increasing the natural gas security of the Balkan geography.

“The duration of this agreement will be 13 years and there will be a gas transfer of up to 1.5 billion cubic metres per year. It will make a great contribution to the natural gas supply security of Europe, especially Bulgaria.”

“Our five LNG terminals, primarily Saros FSRU, will contribute to the process. Turkey is a country that supplies gas from 15 countries, with seven different lines and LNG terminals. This is also one of the important steps for Turkey to become a gas hub.”