Bulgaria could resume electricity exports 'within days' if current levels of coal extraction were maintained, Economy Minister Traicho Traikov has said after a visit to Radnevo, the town that is home to the headquarters of state-owned coal mining company Mini Maritsa Iztok.
Mini Maritsa Iztok mining and transport operations were hampered for several days because of heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures. Daily coal production, however, has now returned to about 120 000 tonnes, public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television (BNT) said.
The mining company has also resumed deliveries to four nearby thermal power plants that form the backbone of Bulgaria's electricity production.
"If the current level of coal extraction is maintained, we could resume electricity exports within days," BNT quoted Traikov as saying.
Bulgaria suspended exports at 1am on February 10 because of the cold snap and an accident at the AES Gulubovo thermal power plant. There were no further details available on the accident at the Gulubovo plant in central Bulgaria, owned by US energy firm AES.
Despite activating all electricity-generating facilities, including power plants that are normally mothballed and only used in cases of emergency, the ministry decided to halt exports because the country was facing a shortfall of about 400MW of electricity every hour.
However, there was no risk of blackouts caused by insufficient power supply, Traikov said at the time.