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Bulgarian president critises govt for withdrawal from gas pipeline project

December 10, 2011, 22:03 UTC+3

Bulgarian Finance Minister Simeon Djankov said his country was quitting participation in the Burgas-Alexadroupolis oil pipeline construction project

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SOFIA, December 10 (Itar-Tass) —— Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov criticised the government for a hasty withdrawal from the trilateral Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline project.

He described the government’s decision as “emotional”.

“Bulgaria’s decision to pull out of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline project was not made as a result of serious and substantive discussions among experts, but is rather emotional. If we do not want this oil pipeline to run through our country, it will be built elsewhere,” the president said at a press conference on Saturday, December 10.

Bulgarian Finance Minister Simeon Djankov said his country was quitting participation in the Burgas-Alexadroupolis oil pipeline construction project.

“Bulgaria proposes to sign an agreement [on its withdrawal from the project] by mutual consent,” he said. “If such agreement is reached, Bulgaria will pull out from it at its own expense after the expiration of 12 months. Bulgaria’s withdrawal from the project is explained by impossibility to implement it under the conditions and financial parameters fixed in the agreement of 2007.”

The Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline is an oil pipeline that will be used to transport Russian and Caspian oil from the Bulgarian Black Sea port of Burgas to the Greek Aegean port of Alexandroupolis. The pipeline will be an alternative route for Russian oil bypassing the Bosporus and the Dardanelles. Its construction was supposed to begin in June of 2009 to be completed by the beginning of 2011.

The pipeline project was proposed in 1993-1994 by several Russian and Greek companies. In 1994, for construction of the pipeline Greece and Bulgaria signed a bilateral agreement, followed by a memorandum of cooperation, signed by Greece and Russia.

In February 1998, a Greek consortium for pipeline construction named Bapline was established, and in May 1998, a memorandum of creation of the Transbalkan Oil Pipeline Company was signed. In 2000, technical specifications and economic evaluation of the project were prepared by the German company ILF.

A joint protocol for preparing the pipeline's construction was signed by the three countries in January 2005. The political memorandum between governments was signed on 12 April 2005.

The pipeline will be constructed and owned by Trans-Balkan Pipeline B.V. where 51 percent of shares belong to the Burgas-Alexandroupolis Pipeline Consortium, a joint venture of Russian Transneft, Rosneft, and Gazprom Neft. Bulgarian Burgas-Alexandroupolis Project Company-BG, a joint venture of Bulgargaz and Transexportstroi, owns 24.5 percent of shares. Greece consortium HELPE S.A. - THRAKI S.A., a joint venture between Hellenic Petroleum and Thraki, which is owned by Prometheus Gas and the Latsis Group, owns 23.5 percent, while the Government of Greece has 1 percent.

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