Bulgaria is planning to cut the share of Russian natural gas imports to 50 % of its annual consumption within the next five years to ensure steady energy supply for the country’s growing economy, Bloomberg reported citing President Rosen Plevneliev. Bulgaria, a EU member, currently satisfies 87 % of its annual gas consumption with supplies from Russia. "In five years’ time, we’d like to see at least 50 % of the gas consumption in Bulgaria coming from different and diversified sources," Plevneliev said in an interview with Bloomberg on Thursday. The Bulgarian president cited a 2009 dispute between Russia and Ukraine that disrupted energy flows to Bulgaria for two weeks in order to justify the country’s need for greater independence from the Russian supplies. Russia’s energy giant Gazprom and Bulgaria’s largest natural gas distribution company Bulgargaz signed in November last year a contract on the delivery of Russian gas to Bulgaria for the period until 2022. The document envisions annual supplies of 2.9 billion cubic meters of natural gas initially via "a traditional gas transportation route," and via the future South Stream gas pipeline after it becomes operational in 2016. The signing of the contract came shortly after Russia and Bulgaria inked a final deal to build the Bulgarian stretch of the South Stream gas pipeline project to bring Russian natural gas to Europe along the Black Sea seabed bypassing transit countries.