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The project of the South Stream gas pipeline that will be stretched from Russia to Europe on the Black Sea bottom will soon be launched. Gazprom has signed the final investment decision with Slovenia, on Wednesday it promised to sign the decision on the offshore section of the pipeline and on Thursday – execute the documents with Bulgaria. This country is the last and key one among the transit countries with which Gazprom has not yet reached an agreement on the pipeline construction. Gazprom does not expect problems from Bulgaria and hopes to begin the pipeline construction on December 7.
On Tuesday, Chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee Alexei Miller and CEO of Slovenia’s company Plinovodi d.o.o. Marjan Eberlinc in the presence of the Russian and Slovenian Prime Ministers, Dmitry Medvedev and Janez Jansa, signed the final investment decision on the construction of the Slovenian section of the South Stream gas pipeline, the Kommersant reports. The final version of the main route of the pipeline will run from the Russkaya compressor station in the area of Anapa on the Black Sea bottom via Turkey, then to Bulgaria and will continue through Serbia, Hungary and Slovenia – to the Italian town of Tarvisio.
Gazprom specified that on Wednesday the members of the companies-operators of the project South Stream AG (in which Gazprom has 50 percent, Italy’s ENI – 20 percent, and Germany’s Wintershall and France’s EdF – 15 percent each) will sign in Italy the final investment decision on the offshore section of the pipeline. On Thursday, it is planned to sign the investment decision on the Bulgarian section with Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH). In Bulgaria, the pipeline is to reach land, and the country still has several contentious issues in the negotiations, the newspaper notes.
The Komsomolskaya Pravda daily writes that the estimated cost of the South Stream pipeline is15.5 billion euro. The first deliveries of Russian gas to Europe will begin in 2016, and it is planned to complete the pipeline building by the end of 2019.
All the issues with the Bulgarian side have been settled, the Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper writes. It was reported earlier that Sofia links the investment decision making with the issue of Russian gas price, but, according to the head of Gazprom, these issues are not interconnected. “As for the gas price adjustment, all the necessary changes to the contract have already been made this year,” the newspaper quoted Alexei Miller. The contractor, which will lay the pipeline on the sea bottom, even if has already been selected, Miller said, the contract has not been concluded yet. According to him, the company is negotiating with partners who have worked with Gazprom in the implementation of similar offshore projects.