Bulgaria prepares to pump Russian gas to Central Europe

Bulgaria moved on Friday to revive a gas pipeline project that would pump Russian gas through its territory to Central Europe.

Parliament on Friday approved a new national energy strategy that includes plans for the construction of a new gas pipeline that could be linked to Gazprom's TurkStream project. Its two pipelines are designed to carry 15.7 billion cubic meters of Russian gas across the Black Sea.

Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova said Bulgaria's state-owned Bulgartransgaz is ready to build a new 484-kilometer (302-mile) gas link that would carry Russian gas to Europe at a total cost of 2.8 billion leva ($1.6 billion).

The new pipeline would allow Russian gas deliveries to Europe to bypass Ukraine, which has traditionally been a transit route to West for Russian gas.

In 2014, Moscow was forced by EU competition rules to scrap its South Stream project, and Bulgaria halted construction work on its territory.

Bulgaria, which is heavily dependent on Russian gas, has been repeatedly urged by its Western partners to diversify its energy supplies.