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Cablegate: Bulgaria Looking to Sell Electricity to Iraq

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SOFIA 000508

SIPDIS


SENSITIVE

STATE FOR EB/ESC/IEC

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ENRG PREL ETRD PGOV IZ TU BU
SUBJECT: BULGARIA LOOKING TO SELL ELECTRICITY TO IRAQ


1. (SBU) SUMMARY. Bulgaria's new Minister of Energy,
Miroslav Sevlievski, asked March 15 for U.S. assistance in
facilitating a deal that would provide Bulgarian
electricity to Iraq through Turkey. In a meeting with the
DCM, he suggested that the deal would provide up to 300 MW
to the Bosporus grid for use in Turkey. Turkey would in
return provide electricity to Iraq. Bulgaria will need to
take the first step by approaching Turkey bilaterally. END
SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) Sevlievski implied U.S. assistance would be needed
to convince Turkey to cooperate. The idea to sell
electricity to Iraq is very much in the formative stage.
While Bulgarian officials intend to raise it with the Iraqi
Energy Minister, they have not approached Turkey yet.
Related to this, the PM's office has contracted Washington
lobbying firm Patton Boggs to assist in putting this and
other Iraq-related deals together. Patton Boggs has
approached the Embassy requesting our assistance in
arranging meetings at State to discuss the proposed deal.

3. (U) Under a 1998 "Bilateral Agreement on Cooperation in
the Areas of Energy and Infrastructure," Turkey agreed to
purchase 32 billion kWh of Bulgarian electricity between
1999 through 2008. In return, a Turkish company would
construct a highway and a hydroelectric power plant in
Bulgaria. However, Turkey terminated electricity imports
from Bulgaria in April 2003, claiming that Bulgaria was
delaying implementation of the infrastructre projects.

4. (SBU) COMMENT: Post is unable to evaluate the
feasibility of this proposal. However, an electricity sale
to Iraq would support Bulgaria's desire for tangible
benefits for its participation in the Iraq coalition. It
could also assist Iraq to meet its energy needs. Energy
analysts here believe some infrastructure work would have
to be done on Turkish/Iraqi territory to make this deal
feasible. The Bulgarians need to take the first step by
approaching Turkey bilaterally. At that point, U.S.
assistance may be appropriate.

Bagdad minimize considered

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