SOFIA, December 4. /TASS/. Bulgaria is building the Balkan Stream - - a branch of the TurkStream gas pipeline through Bulgaria to Serbia - as fast as possible, the delay in the implementation of the project was due to competitive procedures, the gas pipeline should be built before the end of next year, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov said in an interview with the national television.
"The construction of the gas pipeline continues at an average speed of five kilometers a day, and its start was delayed due to mandatory procedures. Bulgaria is the only alternative for Russian gas. Bulgaria will be a gas distribution center in the Balkans, this has been agreed with both Brussels and Washington. I hope that the President of Russia will accept our invitation to visit Bulgaria next year and will be able to personally see our work. I hope that by the end of next year the pipeline will be operational, "Borisov said.
Earlier on Wednesday, at a joint press conference with the President of Serbia, Alexander Vucic, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the Bulgarian side deliberately delays the implementation of the continuation of the TurkStream gas pipeline on its territory.
At the same time, President Putin said that in the event that Bulgaria refuses the project, Russia can find other options for gas supplies to southern Europe.
The first line of the TurkStream is intended for deliveries to the domestic market of Turkey. The second one is for South and Southeast European nations. Gazprom considers Greece, Italy, Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary as potential markets. The capacity of each line is 15.75 bln cubic meters of gas per year. First gas deliveries are scheduled to start at the turn of 2019.