BRUSSELS, June 09. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s ambassador to the EU has said the European Commission’s move towards freezing the South Stream gas project is not on the agenda of gas talks within the Russia-EU-Ukraine format.
At the same time, he said officials of the Russian Energy Ministry and the European Commission “are expected to raise this issue shortly”.The fifth round of gas talks, due to open in Brussels later in the day, will involve Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak, Ukrainian parliament-appointed Minister of Energy and Coal Industry Yuri Prodan, European Commissioner for Energy Guenther Oettinger, Russia’s Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller and Naftogaz of Ukraine head Andrei Kobolev.
In addition, Chizhov said the European Commission’s step “warns the countries seeking to sign the Association Agreement with the EU”.
Bulgaria had come under severe pressure before it agreed to suspend preparations for the construction of the South Stream pipeline. “This is a sign to the states, seeking the associate status within the EU. I hope that Kiev, Tbilisi and Chisinau would hear this signal,” Chizhov said.
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 meters per year. Its cost is about €8.6 billion.