SOFIA, December /TASS/. Russia’s decision to halt the South Stream gas pipeline project intended to pump Russian natural gas directly to Europe bypassing transit states will yield grave consequences for Bulgaria, the country’s former president Georgi Parvanov said on Thursday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on December 1 that the project to build the South Stream gas pipeline was closed due to the European Union’s unconstructive approach to cooperation in that sphere, including Bulgaria’s decision to stop the construction of the pipeline’s stretch on its territory.
Parvanov who leads the Alternative for Bulgarian Revival party said the project termination would yield grave consequences for the country’s energy sector and national security. “Instead of the Balkan energy center, we’ll be the consumers of gas from Turkey,” he said.
The Russian president said on Monday the gas pipeline intended to go to Bulgaria would now be rerouted to Turkey. Meanwhile, Bulgaria’s annual loss of the South Stream project suspension is estimated at €400 million.
The Bulgarian ex-president also said Bulgaria could lose about 5,000 new jobs from the halt of the South Stream project and about €500 million earlier planned for Bulgarian firms for laying the pipeline and building compressor stations.
“Now we’re turning into an ordinary gas consumer, i.e. we’ll stand in line and wait for the gas price to be determined by Russia, Turkey and other countries, through which the pipeline will run,” Parvanov said.
The South Stream gas pipeline worth €15.5 billion was intended to pump 67 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas to Europe annually. The pipeline’s underwater section 900 km (559 miles) long was intended to run along the bed of the Black Sea from the Russkaya compressor station on the Russian shore to the Bulgarian coast.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Thursday the South Stream gas pipeline project could still be implemented.
Meanwhile, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Russia’s decision to stop the South Stream gas project is final.