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Agreement on South Stream construction in Serbia to be signed by end of June

June 17, 2014, 20:45 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The tender results are expected to be announced by the end of June 2014 and a relevant agreement will be signed after that, Gazprom says
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© EPA/FILIP SINGER

MOSCOW, June 17. /ITAR-TASS/. An agreement on the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline in Serbia will be signed before the end of June, Russia’s gas giant Gazprom said in a release on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miler met with Serbian Ambassador to Moscow Slavenko Terzic to discuss cooperation in the gas sector. Specific attention was focused on the implementation of the South Stream project.

“The project is being implemented in strict compliance with the schedule. Currently, a tender for the design, construction and commissioning works at the pipeline’s Serbian section is nearing completion. The tender results are expected to be announced by the end of June 2014 and a relevant agreement will be signed after that,” Gazprom said.

Miller and Terzic agreed that a major component of Serbia’s energy security was the Banatski Dvor underground gas storage depot, a functioning facility of the South Stream project. It capacity will be increased to its maximum of 450 million cubic metres by the next heating season, which is seen as an extra guarantee of uninterrupted supplies of Russian gas to Serbia next winter.

South Stream is a large-scale infrastructure project envisaging the construction of a gas pipeline with a capacity of 63 billion cubic metres across the Black Sea bottom to countries of Southern and Central Europe. It is seen as a means to diversify natural gas supplies to Europe and to reduce dependence on transit countries. Gas supplies via South Stream are to start in late 2015, with the pipeline reaching its designed capacity in 2018.

The Serbian section of the pipeline is being built by the joint company South Stream Serbia AG, with Gazprom holding 51% of shares and Srbijagas - 49% The project has been given a special status by the Serbian parliament.

The Banatski Dvor gas depot with a capacity of 450 million cubic metres has been functioning in Serbia since 2011. It was South Stream’s first facility and will be used to ensure uninterrupted gas supplies via the gas pipeline.

A ten-year contract on supplies of up to 1.5 billion cubic metres of gas a year to Serbia was signed in 2013. Currently, gas is pumped via the existing pipeline with a view of switching to the South Stream pipeline in future. In 2013, Gazprom exported about two billion cubic metres of gas to Serbia.

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