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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bulgaria, Russia Sign Gas Pact

VARNA, Bulgaria -- Bulgaria has signed a deal that could make it a center for the distribution of Russian gas on the Balkans and beyond, the chairman of its energy committee said.

Nikita Shervashidze said an agreement to set up a joint gas company with Russia had been signed in Moscow giving the two countries equal stakes in a joint venture dealing with marketing and gas sales in third countries.

"More than 20 billion cubic meters of Russian gas per year will be transiting through Bulgaria," Shervashidze said in an interview late Wednesday after his return from Moscow.

He said that through the joint company Bulgaria would increase its annual imports of Russian gas to 8 billion cubic meters after 1998 from the current 5 billion cubic meters supplied under an agreement that will expire in 1997.

The Russian side, represented by its giant Gazprom, will participate in the venture by supplying gas.