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South Stream is not EU priority - source

April 19, 2014, 11:48 UTC+3 BRUSSELS
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BRUSSELS, April 19, /ITAR-TASS/. The European Union does not cosider construction of the South Stream gas pipeline a priority, press secretary of the EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger - Sabine Berger - told Itar-Tass on Saturday.

“As for organisation of negotiations on South Stream, over discussing the project we, surely, should consider the general context of the relations between Russia and the EU,” she said.

“At the level of the working group on South Stream, which was organised early this year in order to outline legal framework for the construction of the gas pipeline in the EU territory, it is working on exchange of views on technical and legal aspects. However, we do not have now negotiations at a political level,” the press secretary said.

The European Commission will represent six countries - Hungary, Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria and Greece as well as Serbia - at negotiations with Russia on South Stream.

On Friday, Russia’s Minister of Energy Alexander Novak confirmed the project had been implemented in compliance with intergovernmental agreements, and thus cannot be terminated. He stressed also the ministry had been involved in consultations with representatives of the European Commission.]

South Stream-Bulgaria also disclaimed information in some media about disassembled pipes at the construction site. The company confirmed to Itar-Tass work on the project continued in Bulgaria.

The South Stream Offshore Pipeline will run through the Black Sea from Russia to Bulgaria and have a total length of 930 kilometres. An environment impact assessment (EIA) in accordance with national environmental legislation is being conducted in Russia, Turkey and Bulgaria. In addition, South Stream Transport is undertaking an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) in alignment with the standards and guidelines of international finance institutions. This will involve an ESIA Report for each Sector of the Project and a consolidated document for the entire South Stream Offshore Pipeline to ensure a consistent approach.

South Stream, initially conceived ENI and Gazprom, later joined by Electricite de France and German Wintershall AG, will eventually take 30 billion cubic metres of Russian natural gas a year to southern Europe.

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 metres. There are two optional routes for the onshore gas pipeline section: either northwestward or southwestward 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.

The construction of South Stream started on December 7, 2012 is scheduled to be completed by 2015. The overall capacity of the marine section of the pipeline will be 63 billion cubic metres a year. Its cost is about 16 billion euro.

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