GORKI, January 20. /TASS/. Moscow’s decision to drop the South Stream gas pipeline project intended to pump Russian natural gas directly to Europe bypassing transit states was based on purely legal grounds, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Tuesday.
“The decision made by the Russian Federation is not of political or, all the more so, of emotional nature. This is a legal decision,” the premier said at a meeting with Energy Minister Alexander Novak and Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller.
All of Russia’s attempts to start work on this project ended in nothing, he said. “We were forced to quit the project,” he added.
The premier said Russia has some other ideas and is ready for cooperation but on the terms it would be able to accept.
The South Stream was a good project, Medvedev said. “In actual fact, we have worked very seriously on it,” he added.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on December 1 that Moscow would not implement the South Stream project “in the current conditions.”
“Considering that we have still not obtained permission from Bulgaria, we consider that Russia cannot continue implementing this project in the current conditions,” the president said at the time.
“I mean that we need now to start construction of this pipeline system in the Black Sea. We can’t start the construction in the sea until we obtain permission from Bulgaria,” Putin said then, following the results of his visit to Turkey.
At the same time, Moscow is ready to build another gas pipeline system to Turkey and create a gas hub there, he added.
South Stream was Gazprom's global infrastructure project designed to build a gas pipeline with a capacity of 63 billion cubic meters across the Black Sea to Southern and Central Europe in order to diversify natural gas export routes and eliminate transit risks.
The South Stream’s overland part was expected to run across Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Slovenia and Austria with a gas metering station at Tarvisio, Italy, as its terminus.
The South Stream gas project envisaged the pipeline’s offshoots to Croatia and the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The South Stream gas project was estimated at 16 billion euros and the first gas deliveries were expected to start in late 2015.
The construction of the Bulgarian stretch was launched on October 31, 2013. However, the European Commission later started an anti-monopoly probe into the South Stream project, saying it contradicted the norms of the Third Energy Package.