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BRUSSELS, March 12. /ITAR-TASS/. The situation in Crimea has no impact on the talks between European Commission and Russian experts on the South Stream project, said Sabine Berger, spokeswoman to European Commissioner for Energy Gunther Oettinger.
“Talks have not been frozen. They continue at a technical level,” Berger said.
Commenting on Oettinger’s statement saying the talks with Russia would be suspended, the spokeswoman said the European Commission meant political contacts.
The EC and Russia are holding talks to bring intergovernmental agreements on the South Stream gas project in line with the EU third energy package.
South Stream is scheduled to become operational in 2013. The 900-kilometer-long undersea section of the pipeline will run from the gas compressor facility at Beregovaya, on Russia's Black Sea coast, near Arkhipo-Osipovka, towards the city of Burgas, in Bulgaria. The sea's maximum depth on this route is 2,000 meters.
South Stream is a strategic project for Europe's energy security and should be implemented by the end of 2015. Work is currently underway to draft a feasibility study for the marine section across the Black Sea and the surface section running through transit countries.
The overall capacity of the marine section of the pipeline will be 63 billion cubic meters per year. Its cost is about €8.6 billion.