Standing in the way by standing in the middle: The case of state-owned natural gas intermediaries in Bulgaria
Bulgaria is a significant natural gas transit state in the EU (a role set to increase with the South Stream and potential Nabucco West gas pipelines) and a Member State subject to EU regulation. As a result, the regulation of natural gas in the country is of direct relevance to the development, implementation and realisation of EU energy security policy. ¬However, the transposition of the EU’s Third Energy package seem to be dependent on the role of intermediaries in the process of transiting natural gas through and within Bulgaria. This paper uses a conceptual frame which merges literature on energy infrastructure networks, intermediaries and power to explain some key problems for natural gas supply policy in Bulgaria and the lack of transparency within the sector. The conclusion offers an explanation of how the existence of Bulgarian intermediaries influences the use of national natural gas pipelines as transmission belts for national, Russian and EU policy, as well as a series of objectives including: increasing household gasification, further liberalisation of the Bulgarian natural gas market and increasing transparency in Bulgarian energy policy.
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