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MILAN, September 27 (Itar-Tass) - The advantages and economic prospects of the South Stream gas pipeline project and its practical benefits for Europe and Italy will be discussed at a conference to be held in Milan on Friday, September 27.
Participating in the conference will be Italian Minister of Infrastructure and Transport Maurizio Lupi, Russian Deputy Energy Minister Anatoly Yanovsky, officials from the Italian energy sector, Italian ENI and Russian Gazprom companies, including Oleg Aksyutin, Executive Director and a member of the Board of Directors of South Stream Transport B.V., the operator of the marine section of the pipeline.
The conference will be organized by the independent company Natural Gas Europe, which provides information and analytical services in the energy sector, mainly in the gas industry.
According to experts, Europe’s gas demand will grow by 25 percent by 2030, with up to 80 percent of natural gas to be imported to meet these needs, which makes projects like South Stream strategically important.
Italian partners expect Russian gas supplies to Europe to grow by 50 percent in the next 15 years from 312 bcm to 537 bcm a year.
The conference organizers said the purpose of the forum was to show the benefits of South Stream in the long term. The implementation of this project is not only unique economic experience but also a serious political trial, given the obstacles to be overcome on the way.
Such conferences have already been held in Sofia and Belgrade. The final discussion will take place in Brussels in December.
The South Stream Offshore Pipeline will run through the Black Sea from Russia to Bulgaria and have a total length of 930 kilometers. An environment impact assessment (EIA) in accordance with national environmental legislation is being conducted in Russia, Turkey and Bulgaria. In addition, South Stream Transport is undertaking an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) in alignment with the standards and guidelines of international finance institutions. This will involve an ESIA Report for each Sector of the Project and a consolidated document for the entire South Stream Offshore Pipeline to ensure a consistent approach.
The Russian Sector of the Project will have a length of approximately 230 kilometres, running from the landfall at the Black Sea shore to the boundary of the Russian Exclusive Economic Zone. The Russian EIA process was started in July 2012 with the publication of the Terms of Reference, which gave a first description of the subjects that are covered by the draft EIA Report. In November 2012, South Stream Transport commenced the ESIA process for the Russian Sector with the publication of a Russian Scoping Report. Public consultation meetings were held on the Scoping Report in the communities of Varvarovka, Soupsekh and Gai-Kodzor in December 2012.
The EIA and ESIA processes will be finalized before the start of offshore pipe laying in 2014, with the aim of taking the first line into operation by the end of 2015.
South Stream, initially conceived ENI and Gazprom, later joined by Electricite de France and German Wintershall AG, will eventually take 30 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas a year to southern Europe.
The project stipulates for the offshore gas pipeline section to run under the Black Sea from the Russkaya compressor station on the Russian coast to the Bulgarian coast. The total length of the offshore section will be around 900 kilometers, the maximum depth - over two kilometers and the design capacity - 63 billion cubic meters. There are two optional routes for the onshore gas pipeline section: either northwestward or southwestward from Bulgaria.
In order to feed the required amount of gas to South Stream, Russia’s gas transmission system throughput will be increased through the construction of additional 2,446 kilometers of line-pipe and 10 compressor stations with the total capacity of 1,473 MW. This project has been named South Corridor and will be implemented in two phases before December 2019.
The construction of South Stream started on December 7, 2012 is scheduled to be completed by 2015. The overall capacity of the marine section of the pipeline will be 63 billion cubic meters a year. Its cost is about 16 billion euro.