Financial and business news from Bulgaria

Radev wants verification of Belarusian firm that made “Balkan Stream” under Yantra River

Arkad's contracts with subcontractors have been on Bulgartransgaz website for a year
The Belarusian firm Beltrubovodstroy, which was a subcontractor of Arkad in the construction of Balkan Stream, has again become the subject of media attention. President Rumen Radev was asked by journalists in Brussels if he would initiate a probe for the firm in question.

He said that everything possible would be done to verify the claims that the Turkish Stream project was built by Belarusian companies under sanctions and with equipment diverted from EU projects.

In fact, there is no Turkish Stream on the territory of Bulgaria, the construction order itself is for “Expansion of Bulgartransgaz gas transmission infrastructure parallel to the northern (highway) gas pipeline to the Bulgarian-Serbian border”, stage “Linear part”. Later, this became “Balkan Stream”.

Radev states that these are complex verification mechanisms because they require large teams of people. And in fact, it was the same ones who entered into contracts, handed out money, drafted the technical specifications, accepted the sites as ready.

And commented that the same institutions and control bodies that have not responded so far. It would be good if independent verification bodies could be brought in, according to the president.

Belarusian company Beltrubovodostroy was long discussed during the hearing of Bulgartransgaz chief Vladimir Malinov and former Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova in the interim parliamentary committee in the 45th National Assembly, headed by Maya Manolova.

And on Wednesday in front of “24 hours” Malinov said, as well as in the committee, that Bulgartransgaz does not hire subcontractors. In a period of COVID pandemic - 19 last year and its restrictions, there was a threat of serious delay in the project. Back then, Arcade, who were selected as contractor, said they were hiring eight subcontractors. One of them is Beltrubovodstroy. The contract with the Belarusian company is published on the Bulgartransgaz website.

The task of the company is the construction of the gas pipeline under the Yantra River by the method of horizontally directed drilling. A contract was signed on May 4, 2020.

Malinov explained that they checked the company hired as a subcontractor according to the requirements of the law - whether he has experience in this activity, whether it is insolvent or liquidation. At the meeting of Manolova's committee, it was claimed that this company was identified as a threat to Lithuania's national security.

Malinov pointed out that he does not determine who is a threat to national security, and SANS should check whether this company is on a sanction list of the EU.

From January 1, 2021, gas from Turkey to the Bulgarian network as well as to Serbia is transported through the pipes of Balkan Stream. By May 24th, 11.98 billion kWh had gone to Serbia, Malinov also reported.