VARNA, Bulgaria, July 16 (Itar-Tass) - Public quarters in the Bulgarian port city of Varna are expected to hold an open discussion of a report on the estimated environmental impact of the South Stream gas pipeline project.
According to the construction plans, the trunk line is due to emerge from the Black Sea waters and get on to the shore in Varna’s district of Galata.
Taking part in the discussions will be Varna’s Mayor Ivan Potrnih, officials of the municipal administration and activists of public associations. Authorized representatives of the South Stream Bulgaria company will do a presentation of a plan of works that will be held on the territory of the city in the course of construction of the pipeline.
A source close to the project told Itar-Tass the debates in the Varna community are the main event along the pathway of a successful completion of discussions in Bulgaria, where the project has already been discussed in 24 out of the 29 territorial communities it concerns.
“We’ve familiarized everyone who had questions with the details of the project,” the source said. “People take a lively interest in it and support it.”
Public debates on the report on estimated environmental impact are mandatory for all the 39 territorial communities under the national law. They began July 1.
The main problem that is being raised in the course of debates is the search for employments by the Bulgarian citizens during the construction works and subsequently in the process of the pipeline’s commercial operations.
The Bulgarian Ministry of the Environment and Water endorsed the report on the South Stream back in May and the project steering company received an instruction to grant public access to it in the 39 territorial communities and to organize conferences for its discussion.
Environment and Water Minister is due to pass a resolution on the report within 45 days after the last discussion and thus to give the go-ahead to the construction of the pipeline.
Russia’s major producer and exporter of natural gas, OAO Gazprom, is implementing the South Stream project to diversify the routes of supplies of the fuel to European customers and to reduce the dependence on transit countries.
The construction of the land surface part of the project has required the signing of interstate agreements with Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Greece, Slovenia, Croatia, and Austria.
The Bulgarian section of the South Stream will stretch across a distance of 538 kilometers from seaport of Varna to the border with Serbia. Its throughput capacity is expected to increase from 16 billion cubic meters of gas in the first year of operations to 64 billion cubic meters onwards.