LJUBLJANA, October 1 (Itar-Tass) — Slovenia’s involvement in the South Stream project is one of the key elements of the country’s energy security, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia Karl Erjavec said in an interview with Itar-Tass on the eve of his visit to Russia beginning on Monday.
“South Stream is one of the most important projects between the two countries,” he said. “Slovenia realises that it has international significance in terms of the economy, politics, security and the environment.”
The foreign minister pointed out that the natural gas consumption in the country will only be growing. This, in his opinion, supposes the appearance of new sources and routes of gas transportation.
Erjavec stressed that along with the enhancement of reliability in the sphere of gas deliveries Slovenia expects from the project a “collateral positive effect.” “In particular, enhancing the ·strategic role in the sphere of the main transit corridors in Europe, participation in the investment into, construction, ownership and management of the gas pipeline, the strengthening of economic and political relations with the Russian Federation,” he said.
In addition, the Slovenian side expects that investments in the Slovenian part of the pipeline, estimated at 1 billion euro, will become a catalyst for the development of the country’s economy, accelerate its economic growth and raise the employment level.
South Stream is a proposed gas pipeline to transport Russian natural gas through the Black Sea to Bulgaria and further to Greece, Italy and Austria. The project is seen as rival to the planned Nabucco pipeline. The start of the pipeline construction is planned for December 2012, with a projected completion in 2015.
Karl Erjavec will meet on Monday with Russian Minister of Communications and Mass Media, chairman of the Russian part of the bilateral intergovernmental commission on trade-economic and scientific-technical cooperation Nikolai Nikiforov. He is also expected to hold talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that will be held in the format of a working breakfast.