Bulgaria makes another big step against Russia by introducing a special tax; Hungary and Serbia are in for an unpleasant surprise
Bulgaria has introduced a tax of about 20% of the price of Russian gas transit through its territory. This step may cause a dispute with Moscow and will significantly increase the price of natural gas for Hungary and Serbia.
According to Bloomberg, the tax is 20 Bulgarian levs ($10.76) per megawatt-hour of gas of Russian origin. This is about 20% of the price of benchmark European gas traded in the regional center of Amsterdam.
Although Bulgaria does not import gas from Russia for its own needs, it is an important route for the severely reduced pipeline flows that Russia is sending to Europe after large-scale cuts in 2022. Almost half of Russia's pipeline gas comes to Bulgaria from Turkey via the TurkStream line for onward delivery to Hungary, Serbia, and other parts of Southern Europe.
The move adds new uncertainty to an already nervous market. Gas prices in Europe have risen in recent days as threats to gas flows increase around the world, including the war between Israel and Hamas, potential strikes on key export plants in Australia, and infrastructure vulnerability following a recent leak in a pipeline in the Baltic Sea where sabotage is suspected.
Russia's Gazprom stopped supplying Bulgaria's domestic market last year after the country refused to pay for fuel in rubles and switched to alternative suppliers, including Turkey.
As reported by OBOZ.UA, Ukraine has revised the rules for setting up payments for gas transportation. The new calculation principle will allow Ukrainians to pay less for gas distribution, but not all of them.