MOSCOW, April 2 (UPI) -- Bulgaria received a temporary discount on natural gas prices from Moscow in exchange for expedited development of South Stream, the prime minister said.
Bulgarian officials met with Russian counterparts for energy talks in Moscow. Russian officials, during the meetings, agreed to provide an 11 percent discount on natural gas prices for Bulgaria. Sofia would move quicker on the planned South Stream natural gas pipeline as part of the agreement.
"We will provide faster and shorter terms for the construction of South Stream because the faster we launch and install a meter, the better," Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov was quoted by the Sofia News Agency as saying.
South Stream is a planned natural gas pipeline meant to diversify Russian gas export options. The pipeline is designed to carry as much as 2.2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas to Europe each year. Construction should begin in December.
Bulgaria's discount runs through the end of the year. Sofia doesn't have any natural gas agreements for 2013.
The country also backs the Nabucco gas pipeline, favored by the European Union as a way to break the Russian grip on the regional energy sector. Borisov said supporting both pipelines would ensure his country becomes a strategic energy hub.