BULGARIA'S SOUTH STREAM
Despite proclaiming that is has suspended all work on the South Stream pipeline, the Bulgarian government have been moving ahead to ensure that funding is in place to start construction on the portion on the pipeline which will cross through its territory after emerging from the Black Sea at Varna.
Earlier this month, the European Commission launched an infringement procedure to launch a procedure against Bulgaria for non-compliance of the South Stream pipeline section with EU legislation and requested the Bulgarian authorities halt construction of the pipeline.
Brussels believes that the project has issues of public procurement, competitiveness and incompatibility with Europe's Third Energy Package, as Bulgarian draft bills could prevent third-party access to the pipeline.
However, Capital newspaper reports that government agencies Bulgarian Development Bank (BDB) and Bulgarian Export Insurance Agency (BAEZ) are to undertake guarantees in case of litigation and financial claims against the project.
BDB is expected to issue a guarantee on the amount of approximately EUR 100 million, representing the Bulgarian part of the initial downpayment. The risk will be insured by BAEZ, although Capital points out that in this case, no question of an export of goods or services or for securing receivables from foreign customers.
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REUTERS - Brent crude futures LCOc1 were down 72 cents at $61.49 per barrel at 1020 GMT, having fallen by 1.5 percent on Tuesday, its largest one-day drop in a month. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 was at $55.12 per barrel, down 58 cents.
BLOOMBERG - Prices dropped during the session as the International Energy Agency said the recent recovery in oil prices, coupled with milder-than-normal winter weather, is slowing demand growth. The worsening outlook for consumption dampened some of the enthusiasm that OPEC and its allies will extend supply curbs.
Global energy needs rise more slowly than in the past but still expand by 30% between today and 2040. This is the equivalent of adding another China and India to today’s global demand.
Product exports have grown significantly over the past several years and are expected to continue to grow as Russian refineries add capacity to produce more high-quality products.