Bulgarian Govt Grants New 'Final' Extension on BA Oil Pipeline

Bulgarian Govt Grants New 'Final' Extension on BA Oil Pipeline

The Bulgarian government has granted Trans-Balkan Pipeline, a Bulgarian-Greek-Russian project company, another extension on the environmental assessment of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline project.

Bulgaria's Environment Ministry is granting TBP until September 30, 2011, to submit anew its environment assessment impact study on the troubled oil pipeline project.

The new extension means that the deadline for the final decision of the Bulgarian Environment Ministry and the Cabinet as a whole on the fate of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline will be pushed further, till the end of October 2011. TPP had requested the extension in mid July, a government spokesperson said Monday.

The new delay on the final decision of the BA pipeline's fate comes after in June 2011 Bulgarian Environment Minister Nona Karadzhova declared that she gave Trans-Balkan Pipeline a final chance - a two-month extension - in order to fix the environmental impact flaws in its project.

Shortly after that the Bulgarian government approved a contribution to the Bulgarian state company for the construction of the vastly troubled pipeline, which was at the bare minimum for keeping alive operation of the company, which holds on behalf of Bulgaria a share of 24.5% in the Trans-Balkan Pipeline company, a joint venture of Bulgaria, Greece, and Russia.

In June 2011, the Bulgarian government delayed further the controversial project for the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline, returning its environmental assessment report for the second time to the Trans-Balkan Pipeline company, prompting Transneft President Nikolai Tokarev to describe the actions of the Bulgarian government as an insult.

The 300-km, planned to link the Black Sea port of Burgas to Alexandroupolis on the Aegean Sea, is designed to transport 35 million tons of oil a year, with a possible expansion to 50 million tons, to ease the tanker traffic burden in the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles straits.

Transneft does not rule out finding a route bypassing Bulgaria to deliver Russian oil through Greece to the Mediterranean, Tokarev said. (Source: Sofia News Agency)

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