A field in Dobrudzha has reserves of 15 – 17 billion cubic meters of conventional natural gas suitable for extraction. There is also a project to immediately extract at least 5 billion of them. At a consumption of 3 billion cubic meters. Annually our own yield from this region alone would give us independence for years to come. This energy manna has so far been blocked with an EIA case that has been dragging on for 4 years. And the explorations in the Dobrich block have become the target of an active event that benefits the Russian monopoly Gazprom.
At the beginning of this year, a decision of the Administrative Court of Varna came out against the refusal of RIEW-Varna to give a positive opinion on the EIA of the investment proposal for the production of conventional natural gas in Dobrudja. The court instructs RIEW to proceed with a new hearing, but the decision has been appealed and a decision of the Supreme Administrative Court is awaited.
In the period 2004-2016 the studies in the Dobrich block near the village of Rogozina gave two geological discoveries of gas at a depth of 1700-2100 meters and at a depth of over 5000 meters. On the first horizon there is an application for a commercial discovery with the estimated 15-17 billion cubic meters of gas. For the second horizon, there are more than good prospects, but there is still no clarity about the quantities, as the test conducted between March 9 and April 8, 2013 resulted in an accident. According to Sasho Donchev, the owner of the research company, this is not accidental.
“To conduct the tests, we invited one of the two most reputable service companies, namely Halliburton. To our great regret, these experienced Dutch engineers who carried out the study at this depth – on the 5380 meter horizon, made so many mistakes one after the other that they seem rather impossible to happen by chance rather than for a specific purpose. In the end, the test was unfortunate, we couldn’t get an influx of gas, so we don’t know there real there is or is no deposits at that depth.”
The failure was accompanied by another dubious event – after the unsuccessful test, the lead engineer and project manager Sergei Kaantsev fell ill and rested within 6 months.
“It’s a very disturbing circumstance because he was a very young and healthy person. Especially considering that this is 2014, when other similar events took place on the territory of Bulgaria. Yes, without wanting it somehow, given whose interests are affected by a possible local extraction, it gets stuck in our heads that it was not accidental. This man was an extremely well-trained healthy young man, disappeared for 6 months.” – says Sasho Donchev.
The businessman does not hide his suspicions that engineer Sergei Kaantsev was hit by a fate similar to that of Emilian Gebrev, but fatal. The company’s team and Kazantsev’s family tried to treat him in a clinic in Turkey, but without success. From there, they simply return his body and it is cremated without sampling for the presence of toxins.
Donchev talked about the accidents around the drilling with the then Prime Minister Borisov and He has raised his suspicions that he is under attack by Gazprom and the Russian state. He has approached and SANS, as it is still a project of national importance. But Borisov showed no interest in deepening the investigation.
“I managed to ask him the question after you every week personally, your minister then – Delyan Dobrev, of energy, and you were personally interested in the course of exploration, together with us increased expectations, as a result of the drilling data, why when nothing happened, you did not instruct DANS to investigate the case? There is no doubt that the management of this project was under observation and why when this young, healthy 52-53 year old man is gone in no time, why not show interest? Why didn’t you commission a study? Why did you allow the body to be cremated? There was no answer. And no, in fact there was another very strange reaction, Borisov told me when I asked if this was accidental, he was frank enough to admit that he thought it did not sound accidental.”
Our check found out that the Classified Information Department had worked on this case at the State Agency for National Security (DANS), and the case was not closed. It is not known whether it was worked on an economic as well as a “Russian” direction, but whatever happened to Cherni Vrah has no result and does not seem to have been sought at all.
With portraits of Putin against Bulgarian gas
Today, even the gas from the commercial discovery of the first horizon is not extracted, because the hysteria around fracking and shale gas overtakes the extraction of conventional resources. Donchev’s company “Rusgeocom BG” is trying to obtain a positive assessment of its environmental impact assessment report of an investment proposal for “Development and utilization of the Spasovo deposit in the Dobrich block”. Initially, RIEW-Varna accepted the findings of the report and gave it a positive assessment.
A public discussion followed in General Toshevo on 28.10. 2017, which is proceeding violently with the presence of the paramilitary organization BNO “Shipka”, part of the pro-Kremlin circles. They carry portraits of Putin and Russian flags. Their behavior is aggressive and threats to the people’s court are voiced. Their motivation is clearly marked on one of the illiterately written posters: “No to the extraction of any kind of gas on the territory of Bulgaria. Yes to South Stream again in our country.”
“After the public discussions, new opinions were suddenly requested from the same institutions, which were diametrically different from the previous ones, from several months earlier, without any change in circumstances, neither in the environment, nor in the report – anywhere. And at the public discussions themselves, what happened was an extremely aggressive and negative resistance to our investment proposal. A group of people literally manipulated the local population. I will not go into any special details. Almost everything is on video on the Internet,” says Dimitar Merachev, CEO of Rusgeocom.
The protests against the Rogozina project were attended by the then Ombudsman Maya Manolova and the President of the BSP Kornelia Ninova.
BIRD.BG contacted Manolova. She explained that she had joined the protesters because the local people in General Toshevo did not want gas production. “The population will not allow it. They are, as one. 99% of the population is behind this,” Manolova is adamant today. She explained that she knew “that they had turned the match in court”, referring to the decision of AC-Varna against the refusal of RIEW to give a positive opinion on the EIA. “No one put pressure on me. Rather, the pressure was in the opposite direction – not to bother. Starting with Temenuzhka Petkova and going through others who warned me indirectly. They have interests all over Dobrudzha, they are thinking of drilling elsewhere.”
In fact, GERB’s interest in gas production in Dobrudzha is not at all categorical. Our team contacted for comment on the topic former Energy Minister Delyan Dobrev, who said that he did not remember that there was a successful study in the Dobrich block.
“There was a drilling around Rogozino as far as I can remember, as far as I can remember, when I was a minister, I don’t know if it was in the same block, but it came out unsuccessful. That drilling was deep and we were betting hopes that there would be gas, but it was unsuccessful.”
When our team reminded the former minister that in fact the explorations were successful and there was a geological discovery and a mining project, Dobrev began to explain that Bulgaria had missed its great chance for diversification by leaving Chevron and because of the moratorium on fracking. The GERB MP denied knowledge of any incidents and sabotage during the study near Rogosina, although while he was a minister he personally inspected the site. However, Dobrev remembered that the company that conducts drilling is Rusgeocom and that its manager (Kazantsev) died of illness. Investors, he said, were unhappy because the drilling was dry.
We also contacted the former mayor of General Toshevo Atanas Atanasov, who is also chairman of the initiative committee against the gas production project. He said the protests were over fears that their water would be poisoned. Regarding BNO “Shipka” Atanasov said “No one invited them, I have no idea, we saw these people at the public discussion in General Toshevo. Previously, there were discussions in 7 settlements, there were none. They came to General Toshevo. They came not to attack the report, but to raise the gourmet.” Atanassov stressed that he was an anti-communist and none of the locals had received money to protest.
Concerns about water poisoning are due to the thesis imposed in the public domain that the studies in Dobrudzha are for shale gas by the “fracking” method. But alsoThe njener at Rusgeocom BG claims that conventional natural gas from sandstone is sought and found there. The technique and technology used to drill both boreholes are conventional and have been used both globally and in Bulgaria for many years.
Expert in court: They want to bury nuclear waste
Conspiracy theories emerge along with the then-raging hysteria. One such theory was developed by Vanya Kazakova, representative of For Clean Bulgaria, who was particularly involved in the protests against shale gas exploration in 2012 and against the intentions to produce conventional gas in Dobrudzha.
She said she was an expert in court. According to her, there is no gas in the Spasovo field, but is being drilled to store radioactive waste in the boreholes.
“In 1993, the NATO Scientific Committee instructed scientists at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences to find a place suitable for storing nuclear waste through a borehole, this is the truth, this is what they intend to do,” Kazakova said.
Our team did not find any confirmation of such an opinion of any NATO scientific committee, nor for communication with BAS on the topic.
What is confirmed by documents is that the exploration of the gas field in the Dobrich block started with Decision No 915 of the Council of Ministers of 22. 12. 2003, with which the Russian company OAO “Bashkirgeologia” a permit has been issued for oil and gas exploration in the Dobrich block. On the fourth of February of the following year, a contract for a period of 3 years was signed. Gas extraction is even part of the regional development strategy of the region.
In 2007 OAO Bashkirgeologia transferred its entire rights and obligations under the search and exploration contract to Rusgeocom BG EAD owned by Sasho Donchev. He explained his entry into the company by the fact that the Russians were short of money. With an additional agreement, the term of the study contract was extended by two years, and subsequently regularly extended by decisions of the Council of Ministers and additional agreements.
In February 2011, Rusgeocom BG signed a contract with Eriell Corporation s.r.o. for the design and construction of a search drilling for oil and gas in the Dobrich block. By February 2013, the borehole had reached a depth of 5,610 m. In the course of The drilling was discovered and proven the two geological discoveries – “Spasovo” and “Spasovo 2“. Then followed the strange accident, the illness and the soon achievable death of the chief engineer of the project.
Despite these adversities, on February 24, 2014, Rusgeocom BG submitted to the Ministry of Economy and Tourism an application for registration of a commercial discovery “Natural Gas Field Spasovo in Dobrich Block”. The application has attached a final geological report with estimated reserves and promising resources. The company’s report was recognized by a committee of the Energy Ministry on 14.10.2015.
In order for the commercial discovery itself to be recognized, there must be an effective EIA decision. As stated above, the opinion of RIEW – Varna undergoes a reversal of 180° under pressure from pro-Kremlin circles and the GERB government. The appeal of this refusal has so far been successful, but you are waiting for a decision of the Supreme Administrative Court.
To date, the result is that there is no production of Bulgarian gas, and GERB’s executives are plagued by a strange amnesia for the encouraging discoveries. There is no more Russian gas, except for the transit through the Turkish Stream, built by Borisov’s government with BGN 3 billion from the budget, which, however, does not reach the Bulgarian consumer. Who benefits from this situation is crystal clear.
Щом сте стигнали дотук, вероятно вече си задавате въпроса как се финансира този журналистически проект.
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