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U.S. urges Bulgaria to diversify its energy supplies

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was on a tour to Sofia end of last week, talking economy and politics with the Bulgarian government. One of the main subjects of her visit was Bulgaria’s near full dependence on oil and gas supplies from Russia.

Earlier on, the Bulgarian government set an indefinite ban on shale gas exploration in Novi Pazar shale deposit through hydro-fracking by the U.S.-based Chevron. The deposit contains approximately 35 trillion cubic fet of natural gas. Hydro-fracking technique is considered risky and environmentally unsafe. The method uses high pressure injection of water, sand and chemicals to break the rocks and release oil and gas underneath, which can contaminate land and udnerground water, causing immediate danger to the people in the area.

During the talks, Clinton spoke positively of environmental concerns but also stressed the technologies used are safe for the environment. Chevron operations are seen by the United States as an alternative of Bulgaria’s near total dependence on Russia for energy supplies. Clinton said that economic dependence on Russia causes an “unhealthy” political dependence of Sofia on Moscow. Sofia has been a proponent of the Nabucco gas pipeline project from Turkey to Eastern Europe as an alternative supply of natural gas to decrease dependence of these countries on Russian energy supplies.

Clinton’s visit comes a week before official visit of CEO of Russian Gasprom, Alexey Miller.

Photo: Courtesy of Flickr

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