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Russia’s South Stream gas pipeline project beneficial for Europe — Putin

October 16, 2014, 18:42 UTC+3 BELGRADE
Moscow, however, will not be completing the project without the support of its partners, Russian President said during his visit to Serbia
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BELGRADE, October 16. /TASS/.Russia’s South Stream gas pipeline project is beneficial for Europe as it reduces transit risks, however, Russia will not be completing the project all by itself, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.

“We cannot unilaterally construct a pipeline system worth billions of dollars if our partners are still thinking whether to develop the project or not,” Putin, who is currently on an official visit to Serbia said.

The Russian president said the South Stream project “is beneficial for the European consumers as it considerably diminishes transit risks.”

South Stream gas pipeline

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.

Russia insists the South Stream project should be exempt from the effect of the Third Energy Package because it signed bilateral inter-governmental agreements with the EU countries participating in the construction of the gas pipeline on their territory before the EU’s new energy legislation came into force.

Therefore, Russia says that the European Commission’s requirement to adapt these documents to the Third Energy Package contradicts the basic law principle that legislation cannot have retroactive force.

The Third Energy Package requires, in particular, that a half of the capacities of the pipeline built with Russian money must be reserved for independent suppliers, i.e. for cheap and free transit of Caspian gas to Europe independently from Russia.

Therefore, Russia does not recognize the legitimacy of applying the Third Energy Package to the South Stream gas pipeline project. If Moscow agrees to the EU’s proposal to consider exemptions for the South Stream gas pipeline as part of the Third Energy Package, this will mean that Russia will de facto recognize the legitimacy of using this ultra-liberal regulation.

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