STUTTGART, November 26. /TASS/. Russia will build the South Stream pipeline if Europe needs to decrease transit risks and have guarantees of stable gas supplies, Russian Economic Development Minister Alexey Ulyukayev said on Wednesday.
“South Stream is a means of guarantees and reducing transit risks for European consumers. If European consumers have a demand for lowering risks, then we will build South Stream. If there is no such a demand, then we will not construct it,” he said.
The Russian minister said if Europe drops plans for South Stream, then it should take the risks of a violation of guaranteed gas supplies.
Ulyukayev stressed that Russia’s deal to construct pipeline to China has no link to Moscow’s commitment to European gas consumers. “The idea is the natural diversification and balance of supplies,” he said, adding, “Russia has enough gas for both the East and the West.”
South Stream is a global infrastructure project of Gazprom for laying a 63-billion cubic meter capacity gas carrier under the Black Sea to countries in South and Central Europe for diversifying natural gas supply routes and warding off transit risks. South Stream is scheduled to go operational in 2018.
In the autumn of 2013, the European Commission launched an anti-monopoly investigation into the South Stream project on suspicion that it disagrees with the rules of the EU’s Third Energy Package under which companies are supposed to separate generation and sales operations from transmission networks.