In this April 13, 2020, file photo, an oil platform on a river in the city of Zaventem, Bulgaria, is seen in the background.
This is the first oil drilling platform to be constructed in Bulgaria, which has been at the center of a series of disputes between the Bulgarian government and oil companies.
A Bulgarian government decree signed on Monday, March 24, 2020 , states that “the development of the Bulgarian national oil and gas industry should be protected.”
(AP Photo/Andrei Petrov, File)The ban comes as a result of an investigation by Bulgarian authorities into a possible violation of Bulgaria’s environmental laws in 2017.
According to the Bulgarian daily BIRN, the investigation was initiated after a company called NaturaGas, based in the Bulgarian city of Varna, discovered “unexplained” high levels of oil and methane in its production tanks.
The company, which is owned by Naturas oil company, initially denied the allegations, and eventually paid a $30,000 fine.
Naturatas has since announced it is in the process of selling its oil fields.
The investigation led to a new decree by the government in April 2018, banning any company from producing or importing oil or gas in Bulgaria without the permission of the government, and requiring a license to drill and extract oil and natural gas in a certain area.
In addition, the law requires the approval of the National Oil and Gas Council, which oversees the national oil production.BGNES is an initiative of the United States-based Center for American Progress.
The organization promotes policies that promote economic and environmental stability.
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