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“Bulgaria is the center. Until Bulgaria finishes negotiations with Brussels and the European Union and Russia, the project is suspended. Either way, the first and second scenarios mean there will be a delay in the construction in our country,” Serbian minister of construction, transport and infrastructure said on Monday.
For his part, Serbian Minister for Mining and Energy Aleksandar Antic said the South Stream future depended on the European Commission’s agreement with the EU and Russia.
“The South Stream project is an important energy project for Serbia. But Serbia is only one of the states that the pipeline will run,” Antic said.
“In addition, besides Russia, we are the only non-EU member country,” he said.
After talks with US senators on June 8, Bulgarian Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski ordered the construction of the South Stream project to be suspended. The EU authorities ordered a freeze on the project.
“After additional consultations with Brussels we’ll determine further works,” he said.
Last Thursday, June 5, Serbia announced it had no plans to delay the start of construction, scheduled for July, over the pressure from the EU.
The South Stream project has faced a number of problems since relations between Russia and Europe soured over Ukraine.
Gazprom said it could complete the South Stream pipeline without international funding.
Gazprom’s $45 billion South Stream project, slated to open in 2018 and deliver 64 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Europe, is a strategy for Russia to bypass politically unstable Ukraine as a transit country, and helps ensure the reliability of gas supplies to Europe.
Serbia imports about 2.5 billion cubic metres of gas per year, most of which comes from Russia via Hungary and Ukraine.
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 north-westwards or south-westwards from Bulgaria.
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. It is worth about 8.6 billion euro.