BERLIN, June 1 /ITAR-TASS/. Talks between Gazprom and the EU on the Russian South Stream gas pipeline project depend on Russia’s Ukraine policy, EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said on Sunday.
The EU energy envoy said progress in the talks was stalled because Russia was not accepting European energy regulations and because “the crisis in Ukraine overlies everything.”
“We’ll continue discussions, if the Russian partners comply with international law again and are prepared to cooperate constructively on the basis of our energy law,” he said.
South Stream is Gazprom’s global infrastructure project, a pipeline with a capacity of 63 billion cubic meters to run through the Black Sea to the countries of South and Eastern Europe intended to diversify routes for natural gas export and exclude transit risks. The pipeline planned to be commissioned in 2018 will start supplying gas in late 2015.
The European Commission has fears that the South Stream gas pipeline project may considerably expand Russia’s influence in Europe and prevent the implementation of the rival Europe-backed Southern Corridor project intended to bring natural gas to European countries from the Caspian and Middle Eastern regions bypassing Russia.
Last autumn the European Commission launched an anti-monopoly prove into the South Stream project, saying it contradicted Europe’s third energy package, which requires the separation of energy production, transportation and sales. However, Moscow reached agreements with EU countries on the South Stream gas pipeline construction before the third energy package came into force.