BRUSSELS, October 6. /TASS/. South Stream is an alternative gas transit route for Europe but it must operate by uniform European rules, former Slovenian Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek said on Monday.
Bratusek, who is a candidate for the post of European Commission vice-president for Energy Union in 2014-2019, spoke at a hearing organized by the European Parliament’s Committees on Industry, Research and Energy, and on Environment, Public Health and Food Security.
Based on the results of the hearing, the MEPs will make the decision on her confirmation as a member of a new European Commission to be led by Jean-Claude Juncker.
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.
To build the onshore sections of the pipeline, Gazprom has signed agreements with Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Greece, Slovenia, Croatia, and Austria.
The South Stream Offshore Pipeline will run through the Black Sea from Russia to Bulgaria and have a total length of 930 kilometres. An environment impact assessment (EIA) in accordance with national environmental legislation is being conducted in Russia, Turkey and Bulgaria. In addition, South Stream Transport is undertaking an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) in alignment with the standards and guidelines of international finance institutions. This will involve an ESIA Report for each Sector of the Project and a consolidated document for the entire South Stream Offshore Pipeline to ensure a consistent approach.
South Stream, initially conceived ENI and Gazprom, later joined by Electricite de France and German Wintershall AG, will eventually take 30 billion cubic metres of Russian natural gas a year to southern Europe.
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.