Natural resources and energy
Bulgaria has relatively scarce natural
resources and imports both raw materials and energy.
Mining of coal, iron, copper, manganese, lead and zinc
Coal and nuclear power are the most important
domestic energy sources. Coal resources are large but
consist mainly of lignite of fairly low quality. Some
mines have been closed while others have been
Major exports by Bulgaria with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.
Coal-fired power plants account for almost half of
the electricity supply. Nuclear power accounts for most
of the rest, but the use of hydropower and other
renewable sources such as wind, solar and biomass is
Bulgaria is a net exporter of electricity, although
most of the energy generated by electricity is imported.
There is some oil recovery on the Black Sea coast,
but most of the oil demand is covered by imports from
Abbreviationfinder: A popular acronym site in the world covering abbreviation for each country. For example, BG stands for Bulgaria. Visit itypeusa for more information about Bulgaria.
Gas from Russia
In addition to oil, natural gas is also imported from
Russia. The strong dependence on gas imports created a
crisis in January 2009, when a Russian-Ukrainian gas
conflict stopped deliveries via Ukraine to Bulgaria,
among others. Tens of thousands of people were left
without heating in the midst of a severe cold season.
After three weeks, gas deliveries started again.
A new gas pipeline, South Stream, which would go
under the Black Sea directly from Russia to Bulgaria
began construction in 2012, but the project was canceled
in 2014 as a result of Russia's annexation of Crimea
(see Foreign Policy and Defense).
Bulgaria signed an agreement with Serbia in 2012 to
build a gas pipeline connecting the two countries'
systems, with the support of EU funding. A similar
agreement was signed with Greece in 2015, with the aim
of reducing Bulgaria's dependence on energy imports from
It was previously hoped to reduce import dependence
through extraction of natural gas from shale in
northeastern Bulgaria. American energy giant Chevron was
granted a permit in 2011 to extract shale gas. But the
method of extraction - so-called fracking, or hydraulic
cracking - aroused protests. To raise the gas from
several thousand meters deep, water, sand and chemicals
are injected under high pressure. According to critics,
the risk is high for damage to the environment and not
least contaminated groundwater. The protests grew, first
in the region concerned and soon throughout the country,
and in early 2012 the government decided to withdraw the
permit. Bulgaria also decided, like other countries in
the world, to completely ban fracking (after France,
then a few more countries were added).
Disputed nuclear power plant
Bulgaria's only nuclear power plant in Kozloduj on
the Danube was put into operation in 1974. Of the
plant's six reactors, four old Soviet-constructed
pressurized water reactors were leaked radioactivity on
some occasions. As early as the early 1990s, both the EU
and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
declared that the nuclear power plant should not be
operational. In 1999, the EU and Bulgaria agreed that
the four reactors would be closed before the EU
accession in 2007, which also happened.
The loss of four reactors put a strain on the economy
and thousands of jobs lost. The government therefore
decided to resume a previously halted construction of a
new nuclear power plant in Belene, also at the Danube.
In 2006, it was clear that a Russian-backed consortium
had been commissioned to build the new power plant that
would be commissioned from 2013. But the year before,
the government decided to scrap the plans, despite one
of the first of two reactors being completed. The
decision is believed to have been made due to criticism
from environmental organizations and disagreement with
the Russian supplier about the running costs. The
Socialist Party opposed the cessation of the power plant
and forced a referendum on the issue. The vote was held
in January 2013, but turnout was so low that the result
Bulgaria is grappling with major environmental
problems, especially pollution from coal-fired power
plants and heavy industry. The EU is pushing for
increased environmental awareness and providing
financial support for environmental improvements.
FACTS - ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Energy use per person
2,478 kilograms of oil equivalent (2014)
Electricity consumption per person
4709 kilowatt hours, kWh (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions in total
42 416 thousand tonnes (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant
5.9 tonnes (2014)
The share of energy from renewable sources
17.7 percent (2015)
Sharp EU criticism against corruption
The European Commission accuses Bulgaria of not having the political will to
deal with organized crime and corruption. The EU presents a long list of areas
that require action, such as money laundering and mafia killings.
Minority government takes office
Parliament approves a minority government consisting solely of Gerb, with the
party's founder Bojko Borisov as prime minister. The government is supported in
Parliament by the right-wing party Attack, the right-wing Alliance Blue
Coalition and the right-wing Order, Law and Justice, which for the first time
took place in parliament.
Right, even in parliamentary elections
In the parliamentary elections, the newly formed Gerb wins with 40 percent of
the vote and 116 seats. The Socialist Party with alliance parties receives 40
seats, DPS 38, right-wing Attack 21, the right-wing Alliance Blue Coalition 15
and the newly formed right-wing Party Order, Law and Justice 10. NDSV does not
succeed in crossing the four percent barrier, and its leader Simeon resigns
immediately after the election. Just over a week after the election, Parliament
appointed Tsetska Tsatjeva Dangovska from Gerb as the new President, the first
woman in office. (After a recalculation of the overseas votes, Gerb gets another
mandate in early 2010, while DPS gets rid of one.)
New right-wing party largest in EU elections
In the election to the European Parliament, the relatively newly formed
center-right party Gerb gets just over 24 percent of the vote. The coalition for
Bulgaria, led by the Socialist Party BSP, receives 18 percent and the Bulgarian
Turks DPS 14 percent. It gives 5, 4 and 3 seats respectively in the European
Parliament. The election is the first regular EU election in which Bulgaria
New electoral law is approved
The new law means that from the forthcoming elections, 31 of the 240 seats in
Parliament will be elected by majority vote in one-man constituencies. However,
a proposal to raise the percentage block from 4 to 8 percent for election
alliances is halted by a veto by President Parvanov.