BELGRADE, July 23. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s South Stream gas pipeline project is advantageous for Serbia, Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said on Wednesday.
The construction of the Serbian stretch of the South Stream gas pipeline intended to pump Russian natural gas directly to southern and central Europe bypassing transit states represents a good contract for Serbia, the prime minister told journalists.
Vucic said different opinions existed about the South Stream project and this was normal. He also said that the pipeline construction on the Serbian territory would yield at least €350 million in profits for Serbian construction companies.
The Serbian premier said Serbia was pursuing the policy of European integration and friendship with Russia at the same time. “Our friends do not speak with us in the language of ultimatums,” he said.
The first part of the South Stream gas pipeline’s Serbian onshore section was welded on November 24, 2013 near the village of Sajkas, marking the start of a key stage in the pipe construction.
The South Stream gas pipeline will run under the Black Sea to southern and central Europe to diversify Russian natural gas supplies and reduce dependence on transit countries, primarily Ukraine.
South Stream’s offshore section with have a total length of 930km (560 miles) and will run through the exclusive economic zones of Russia, Bulgaria and Turkey.
The onshore section will cross Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Slovenia and Austria. The pipeline’s annual capacity will amount to about 16 billion cubic meters during the first year of operation and will be eventually expanded to 63 billion cubic meters.
First gas deliveries via the South Stream gas pipeline are scheduled for late 2015.