The energy ministers of eight EU countries involved in the South Stream - Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovenia, Austria, Croatia, Italy, Greece and Romania - met with European Commission representatives earlier on Tuesday to discuss the situation that has developed after Russia declared the South Stream project closed.
The European Commission also said that the EU considers Russia’s decision to freeze the South Stream unofficial.
On December 1, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that in current conditions Russia will not implement the South Stream project. Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller said the project was closed.
The South Stream project estimated at €15.5 billion was to supply 67 billion cubic meters of gas to Europe yearly.
European Commissioner for Energy Union Maros Sefcovic said earlier on Tuesday that the first gas supplies from Caspian Sea to Europe via the Southern Gas Corridor, bypassing Russia, are due to begin in 2019. He said Azerbaijan and Turkey have already confirmed their commitment to implementing projects within the Southern Gas Corridor, including the Trans-Caspian gas project.
The Southern Gas Corridor is a European project which is based on a network of local pipelines aimed at supplying gas directly to the European Union member-states from the Caspian Sea bypassing Russia. The project was launched in 2009. It incorporates a series of gas pipeline projects, including the White Stream (also known as the Georgia-Ukraine-EU gas pipeline), a dubious in terms of realization pipeline project to transport natural gas from the Caspian region to Romania and Ukraine with further supplies to Central Europe, the Trans-Adriatic Gas Pipeline, and the actually failed Nabucco project. The Trans-Caspian pipeline is seen as an essential element of the Southern Gas Corridor.Among the European Union’s partners in the Southern Gas Corridor currently are Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Iraq, and Egypt. Potential partners are Iran and Uzbekistan. Geopolitical problems however pose serious risks in terms of investment attractiveness of this pipeline network.
The corridor is a competing scheme to South Stream, a recently abandoned pipeline project meant to supply Russian gas to southern Europe bypassing Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on December 1 the South Stream gas pipeline intended to go to Bulgaria would be closed due to the EU’s unconstructive approach and would be rerouted to Turkey.