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Russia became Bulgaria’s largest importer in 2022

Russia was the largest importer in Bulgaria in the year of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, replacing Germany at the top spot among importers.

Russia imported goods to Bulgaria for nearly €5.86 billion, double that of 2021. Imports from Russia to Bulgaria also overtook those from Germany (€5.36 billion), the country’s largest trading partner before the invasion.

Bulgaria mainly imports crude oil from Russia, worth €3.2 billion. It is also one of the major exporters of oil products to Ukraine, with a huge part of them being produced from Russian oil at the Lukoil refinery in the Bulgarian Black Sea city of Burgas.

The Russian company claims to sell to 500 Bulgarian companies, not Ukrainians. But data shows that some of these Bulgarian companies are intermediaries for the oil export to Ukraine, worth nearly €1 billion.

The amount of Russian oil imported into Bulgaria has grown impressively in terms of quantity – from 2.55 billion kg in 2021 to 6.04 billion kg in the year of the war with Ukraine, an increase of 137%.

Bulgaria received a waiver from the ban on importing Russian oil into the EU until the end of 2024, so Lukoil Neftochim continues to import and process huge quantities of oil. According to data from the Bulgarian Statistical Institute, Bulgaria apparently continues to import natural gas from Russia, even though Gazprom officially announced deliveries at the end of April 2022.

Bulgaria imported gas originating in the Russian Federation for €1.1 billion, more than €100 million more than in 2021 when imports were uninterrupted.

The explanation is that the price of natural gas on the European stock exchanges reached record levels because of the war and disrupted supplies from Gazprom to the EU.

However, regarding quantity, the gas imported into Bulgaria during the year is about 60% less.

(Krassen Nikolov | EURACTIV.bg)

Source : Euractiv