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Serbia, an EU candidate country, is not bound by the same rules as EU members, and therefore the EU executive power has no grounds to demand the suspension of the construction, Marlene Holzner told journalists in Brussels.
“However, if the idea is to bring gas from Russia to Europe, you have to go through European territory and as we have said for all big infrastructure,” she said, adding: “If you do business on European territory, you have to respect our legislation.”
In July, Centrgaz, a subsidiary of Russian energy giant Gazprom, signed a contract on the construction of the South Stream pipeline through Serbia. The construction of the Serbian stretch of the pipeline is due to start in October, the head of Gazprom’s international projects department Alexander Siromyatin said on Tuesday.
The construction of the South Stream pipeline started in late 2012. Under the project, the first deliveries are due in 2016 and the pipeline is expected to become fully operational in 2018.
Last year, the European Commission urged to review bilateral intergovernmental agreements between Russia and EU countries to ensure that they comply with the Third Energy Package, which requires the separation of gas production, transportation and sale to prevent gas suppliers from dominating the infrastructure.
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.