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South Stream gas project is a national priority for Bulgaria, Prime Minister says

January 31, 2014, 1:35 UTC+3 SOFIA
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SOFIA, January 30, 23:28 /ITAR-TASS/. Bulgarian Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski said in an exclusive interview with Itar-Tass on Thursday that the construction of the South Stream pipeline was a national priority for Bulgaria.

The prime minister said that the project was being implemented according to the initial schedule.

“This project is important both for the Russian and Bulgarian sides. We have announced it to be a national priority. Moreover, my cabinet of ministers has managed to overcome a lag in the construction,” Oresharski said, adding he had taken the project under personal control to avert the occurrence of minor technical problems that could slow it down.

The Bulgarian prime minister also spoke about concrete benefits, which the South Stream project would give to Bulgaria.

“We are pinning high hopes on the South Stream and want it to be built according to initial deadline. Bulgaria will gain concrete advantages from this project. First of all, it will have a chance to diversify its gas receiving routes,” Oresharski went on to say. He recalled 2009 when Bulgaria was left without gas for several months because of gas disputes between Ukraine and Russia.

“I do not want to take sides in those disputes but Bulgaria was deprived of gas supplies for months and that had a negative impact on our industry,” Oresharski explained.

He believes that Bulgaria will be able to gain additional revenues from transit fees if the pipeline runs through its territory.

“And not unimportant, that will lead to an economic recovery in regions in the next few years and will also increase Bulgaria’s significance as a place from where gas will be pumped to Europe,” the Bulgarian prime minister said.

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