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Bulgaria looks for energy price relief

April 9, 2012 at 8:15 AM

SOFIA, Bulgaria, April 9 (UPI) -- Bulgaria has the domestic natural gas reserves to offset increasing energy prices sparked by volatility in the global market, the prime minister said.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov addressed rising energy prices by saying there were domestic natural gas reserves in place that could help offset concerns in the long run.

Short-term, he told Bulgaria's private TV channel bTV, Russian energy company Gazprom may consider an 11 percent discount for natural gas prices, the Sofia News Agency reports.

Borisov didn't offer specifics about the domestic reserves other than to say they weren't shale deposits, the news agency reported. Bulgaria has as much as 35 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in its Novi Pazar shale deposit, though the government in January imposed an indefinite ban on shale exploration because of environmental concerns.

Borisov, however, said there wasn't much to shield the country from high energy prices because oil and natural gas are global commodities.

Sofia recently opted to scrap a nuclear power project planned with Moscow. It's decided, however, to back the Nabucco natural gas pipeline and its Russian counterpart, South Stream.

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