Bulgaria’s Arranged Energy Marriage with Russia

The 3 Seas Initiative Forum in Sofia Indicated Some Changes Are Happening, but Overall the Country Is Still Dependent on Moscow

14 September 2021

Ognyan Georgiev

Marcin Król Fellow

It was a momentous shift. During the three-day summit of the 3 Seas Initiative (3SI) in Sofia, the largest private Bulgarian gas company — Overgas Inc, signed a deal with Linden Energy Ltd. to sell a 50 per cent stake to the US company. 

This was a well-chosen moment for a very peculiar deal. Overgas has been partly owned by Russian giant Gazprom since 2016 and its majority owner Sasho Donchev was looking for a way out of this partnership for some time now. Replacing Gazprom with an American company and signing the deal at a summit devoted (amongst other things) to energy independence for the region was a rather clear sign.

“We share the same ideas for a normal life, competitive market, modernisation and development of gas infrastructure and infrastructure as a whole”, commented Donchev in front of ‘Capital Weekly’ newspaper after the deal.

This was one of the two large energy deals announced at the summit in Sofia. The other was the acquisition of 75 per cent of the Austrian company Enery Development GmbH (Enery) by the 3 Seas Investment Fund. Enery has just invested in a huge solar park in Bulgaria.

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Ognyan Georgiev

Marcin Król Fellow

Marcin Król Fellow at Visegrad Insight. A long-time reporter and editor in the leading Bulgarian business publication Capital, and currently head Kapital Insights - the English language service for Bulgarian politics, business and economy. He follows regional development, economy, cities and European funding. Georgiev is a Robert Bosch Stiftung and Fulbright alumni, and spent a year in MIT, researching urban migration. Interests include city planning, urban migration and remigration to Central and Eastern Europe, as well as regional and intraregional development.

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