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SOFIA, January 11, /ITAR-TASS/. The implementation of the South Stream gas pipeline project is the priority one in the work of the Economy and Energy Ministry, Minister Dragomir Stoinev said.
South Stream is the key investment project in the history of Bulgaria. The pipeline will be built within two years and give the population new jobs, Stoinev said.
The minister told Itar-Tass that there were no opponents to the project. “The European Commission and the countries involving in the project stressed the need to implement it. The difficulties that we face now are of organisational nature. They will be discussed during the Russia-EC talks,” he said.
South Stream, which will be jointly built by Gazprom and ENI, will eventually take 30 billion cubic metres of Russian natural gas a year to southern Europe. Analysts have said that the project will cost around 10 billion euro, or 15.82 billion U.S. dollars.
The project stipulates for the offshore gas pipeline section to run under the Black Sea from the Russkaya compressor station on the Russian coast to the Bulgarian coast. The total length of the offshore section will be around 900 kilometres, the maximum depth - over two kilometres and the design capacity - 63 billion cubic meters. There are two optional routes for the onshore gas pipeline section: either north-westwards or south-westwards from Bulgaria.
In order to feed the required amount of gas to South Stream, Russia's gas transmission system throughput will be increased through the construction of additional 2,446 kilometres of line-pipe and 10 compressor stations with the total capacity of 1,473 MW. This project has been named South Corridor and will be implemented in two phases before December 2019.
South Stream is scheduled to become operational in 2013. The 900-kilometre-long undersea section of the pipeline will run from the gas compressor facility at Beregovaya, on Russia's Black Sea coast, near Arkhipo-Osipovka, towards the city of Burgas, in Bulgaria. The sea's maximum depth on this route is 2,000 metres.
South Stream is a strategic project for Europe's energy security and should be implemented by the end of 2015. Work is currently underway to draft a feasibility study for the marine section across the Black Sea and the surface section running through transit countries.
The overall capacity of the marine section of the pipeline will be 63 billion cubic metres per year. Its cost is about 8.6 billion euro.