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BELRGADE, October 13 (Itar-Tass) — Belgrade hopes that work on the Serbian section of the South Stream gas pipeline will resume in December 2012, Prime Minister Ivica Dacic said.
Speaking at a press conference on Saturday, Dacic said, “A solemn ceremony will take place in Russia’s Krasnodar Territory in December to launch the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline. The ceremony will involve the prime ministers of the countries what territories the pipeline will run through. I will attend the ceremony. We also expect the construction to be launched on the Serbian section.”
The prime minister stressed that this was a very important project for Serbia. Investments will reach about two billion U.S. dollars, he added.
Dacic said he is hopeful that Srbijagas and Gazprom would sign an agreement to this effect shortly.
Earlier, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and his Serbian colleague Zorana Mihajlovic signed an inter-governmental agreement on Russian natural gas supplies (up to five billion cubic metres) to Serbia in 2012-2021 in Belgrade.
The agreement was concluded in the presence of Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic.
“By signing the agreement Serbia sewed up long-term and stable supplies of natural gas in the upcoming 10 years. This is one more step towards strengthening relations between Serbia and Russia, which is one of our key foreign political partners,” Dacic told a press conference after the signing ceremony.
The Russian minister replied that the agreement “is extremely important in the development of bilateral relations and gives big prospects for increasing trade turnover between our countries”.
Gazprom will be the major supplier and Srbijagas JP will be the buyer. Under the agreement, Serbia guarantees timely and full payments for gas. If payments are made untimely, supplies will be suspended unilaterally. Natural gas is supplied to Serbia for exclusively internal consumption.
A protocol to the inter-governmental agreement implies that Serbia obliges to pay its debt at the amount of 400 million U.S. dollars till the end of 2014. The debt should be fully paid in 2014.
Russia is the key gas supplier to Serbia. Two weeks ago Srbijagas director-general Dusan Bajatovic said Belgrade hoped that gas prices would be reduced from 470 U.S. dollars to 420 U.S. dollars per 1,000 cubic metres from 2013.