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South Stream gas pipeline meets Serbia’s interests — Serbian foreign minister

June 09, 2014, 20:55 UTC+3 BELGRADE
Serbia “is ready to implement the gas project”, Ivica Dacic said
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Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic

Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic

© EPA/JULIEN WARNAND

BELGRADE, June 09. /ITAR-TASS/. Construction of the South Stream gas pipeline meets the country’s interests, Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic has said.

“As the prime minister [Aleksandar Vucic] said Serbia had not taken a decision to stop the works. We wait and see what will happen,” Dacic said on Monday.

Serbia “is ready to implement the gas project”, he said.

Earlier in the day, Vucic said the Serbian government had not taken a decision on the South Stream project.

The prime minister commented on Deputy PM Zorana Mihajlovic's statement saying on Monday that Serbia had to suspend the construction of the gas pipeline due to Bulgaria’s decision.

“It is the government that should take the decision. But the government has not gathered yet. Everything proceeds as it was scheduled. If there are any changes, the government will take a decision and you will be informed,” Vucic said.

Serbian Minister for Mining and Energy Aleksandar Antic said the South Stream future depended on the European Commission’s agreement with the EU and Russia.

“The South Stream project is an important energy project for Serbia. But Serbia is only one of the states that the pipeline will run,” Antic said.

“But besides Russia, we are the only country that is not a member of the EU,” he said.

After the talks with US senators on June 8, Bulgarian Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski ordered the work on the South Stream project to be suspended. The EU authorities ordered a freeze on the project.

“After additional consultations with Brussels we’ll determine further works,” he said.

Last Thursday, June 5, Serbia announced it had no plans to delay the start of construction, scheduled for July, over the pressure from the EU.

The South Stream project has faced a number of problems since relations between Russia and Europe soured over Ukraine.

Gazprom said it can complete the South Stream pipeline without international funding.

Gazprom’s $45 billion South Stream project, slated to open in 2018 and deliver 64 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Europe, is a strategy for Russia to bypass politically unstable Ukraine as a transit country, and helps ensure the reliability of gas supplies to Europe.

Serbia imports about 2.5 billion cubic meters of gas per year, most of which comes from Russia via Hungary and Ukraine.

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 kilometers, the maximum depth — over two kilometers 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.

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 meters.

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.

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