EU Vows Not to Set Barriers for South Stream Gas Pipeline

EU Vows Not to Set Barriers for South Stream Gas Pipeline

The EU will not set unjustified restrictions regarding the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline, which is supposed to transit Russian gas to Europe, Gunther Oettinger, EU Energy Commissioner, stated Wednesday.

The EU will not create either bureaucratic barriers or unreasonable limits, Oettinger said during a presentation on the project, RIA Novosti reports.

Russia and EU will be equal partners in the project, The EU Commissioner declared.

On Wednesday, the Russian Ministry of Energy and state-run gas giant Gazprom presented the South Stream gas pipeline project at the EU headquarters in Brussels.

With this presentation, Russia aimed to win the status of a trans-European gas transmission network for South Stream, thereby allowing it to go beyond the competences of European and national regulatory bodies.

The EU has already granted such an exclusive status to what is considered South Stream's rival project, the Nabucco pipeline, which, however, has reached a standstill over the failure to secure sufficient gas supplies.

The 900 km South Stream gas pipeline is planned to start near Novorosiysk on the Russian Black Sea coast, crossing Bulgaria's city of Varna on its way.

In Bulgaria, the pipe is supposed to split in two - one pipeline going to Greece and Southern Italy, and another one going to Austria and Northern Italy through Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia.

The offshore section of South Stream is planned to carry 63 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas per year.

South Stream's branch running from Bulgaria through Serbia was negotiated between Russia and Serbia on January 25, 2008.

The future gas pipeline aims to partially replace the planned extension of Blue Stream from Turkey through Bulgaria and Serbia to Hungary and Austria. (Source: Sofia News Agency)

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