Bulgaria picks Saudi-led group to build $1.2bn gas pipeline

A consortium led by Saudi Arabia’s Arkad Engineering will build a pipeline from Bulgaria’s border with Turkey to its frontier with Serbia. (Shutterstock)
Updated 03 April 2019

Bulgaria picks Saudi-led group to build $1.2bn gas pipeline

  • The consortium between Saudi Arabia’s Arkad Engineering and a joint venture including Switzerland’s ABB offered the most economically advantageous tender for the 474 km pipeline
  • The group offered to complete the pipeline within 20 months for $1.2 billion, which Bulgartransgaz said was the lowest bid in the public tender

SOFIA: Bulgaria’s state gas network operator Bulgartransgaz on Wednesday chose a Saudi-led consortium to build a new pipeline through the country intended to hook up to Gazprom’s TurkStream project.
The consortium between Saudi Arabia’s Arkad Engineering and a joint venture including Switzerland’s ABB “had offered the most economically advantageous tender” for the 474 km (294-mile) pipeline to run from Bulgaria’s southeastern border with Turkey to its western border with Serbia, Bulgartransgaz said in a statement.
The group offered to complete the pipeline within 20 months for €1.1 billion ($1.2 billion), which Bulgartransgaz said was the lowest bid in the public tender.
The other bidder — a consortium of Italy’s Bonatti, Germany’s Max Streicher and Luxembourg-based Completions Development — offered a price more than the
€1.4 billion the government was ready to spend on the project.
Last November Bulgartransgaz announced plans to build the link in the hope of persuading Russian gas giant Gazprom to consider a link to its TurkStream pipeline through Bulgarian territory.
Bulgaria, which is heavily dependent on Russian gas for its domestic needs, will lose hefty transit fees when TurkStream becomes operational at the end of this year and Gazprom stops its gas deliveries to Turkey, Greece and Macedonia via Bulgaria in 2020.


Saudi finance minister reassures public on taxes

Updated 10 December 2019

Saudi finance minister reassures public on taxes

  • Mohammed Al-Jadaan: There will be no more fees and taxes until after the financial, economic and social impacts have been considered carefully
  • The government expects to generate about SR203 billion in taxes this year – more than 20.5 percent higher than the previous year

RIYADH: Saudi finance minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan pledged that there would be no more taxes or fees introduced in the Kingdom until the social and economic impact of such a move had been fully reviewed.

He was speaking at the 2020 Budget Meeting Sessions, organized by the Ministry of Finance and held in Riyadh on Tuesday, where a number of ministers and senior officials gathered following the publication of the budget on Monday evening.

“There will be no more fees and taxes until after the financial, economic and social impacts have been considered carefully, especially in terms of economic competitiveness,” said Al-Jadaan.

The government expects to generate about SR203 billion in taxes this year – more than 20.5 percent higher than the previous year and more than 10 percent higher than the expected budget for this year. 

Most of that increase has come from taxes on goods and services which rose substantially as a result of the improvement in economic activity over the year.

The reassurances from the minister come as the Saudi budget deficit is estimated to widen to about SR187 billion, next year, or about 6.4 percent of GDP.