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Gazprom expects Bulgaria’s permission for South Stream construction after polls

September 11, 2014, 21:33 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Gazprom is also waiting for Belgrade’s permission for building the Serbian section of the pipeline and hoping to get it by September 20
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© EPA/KOCA SULEJMANOVIC

MOSCOW, September 11. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s Gazprom said on Thursday it expected to receive Bulgaria’s permission for building the South Stream gas pipeline after parliamentary elections in that country on October 5.

“South Stream has not yet been suspended. There were only the talks on its removal from the Third Energy Package. Bulgaria has suspended the issuance of licenses needed for the construction of South Stream. But we expect to receive the permission after October 5,” Alexander Syromyatin, deputy head of Gazprom’s department for project management, said.

Gazprom is also waiting for Belgrade’s permission for building the Serbian section of the pipeline and hoping to get it by September 20, the official said.

In August, Bulgaria’s interim Minister of Economy and Energy Vassil Shtonov signed a letter addressed to the Bulgarian Energy Holding which forbade it to make any related contracts and urged it to provide every assistance to the European Commission in bringing the project in line with the European legislation.

“The project will be suspended until it meets the European Commission’s requirements,” the minister said. “All parties involved must understand that the project should be implemented by European rules,” Shtonov said. He hopes that “progress will be made in the next two months”.

South Stream project

The main gas pipeline section in Bulgaria will be 541 kilometres long. The project provides for building a receiving terminal and three compressor stations near Varna, Lozen and Rasovo with the aggregate capacity of 300 MW.

South Stream will be built across the Black Sea to South and Central European countries to diversify gas supplies to Europe and reduce the dependence on transit countries.

The offshore section of the pipeline, which will run in part along the seabed and reach the maximum depth of 2,200 m, will be 931 km long. Each of the four parallel strings of the pipeline will consist of 75,000 pipes, each 12 m long, 81 cm in diameter, 39 mm thick and weighing 9 tonnes.

The construction of South Stream started on December 7, 2012 is scheduled to be completed by 2015. The overall capacity of the marine section of the pipeline will be 63 billion cubic metres a year. Its cost is about 16 billion euro. The pipeline will go on onshore in the area of the Bulgarian city of Varna.

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