Bulgaria PM Orders South Stream Freeze until EU Green Light
Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski has ordered a suspension of all activities related to the South Stream gas pipeline project until Bulgaria reaches agreement with the EU on it.
Oresharski, as cited by Darik radio, announced the step in a Sunday interview after a meeting with three US senators visiting Bulgaria – John McCain, Chris Murphy, and Ron Johnson.
The participants in the meeting discussed Bulgaria-US relations in the spheres of economy and defense, as well as energy independence and the current situation in Ukraine.
Oresharski made clear that he had acquainted the US Senators with Bulgaria's recent efforts to achieve a diversification of gas supply sources and routes, adding that he had assured them that the country gave priority treatment to the Southern Gas Corridor.
Bulgaria's Prime Minister explained that he had told the US Senators that Bulgaria would only proceed with the South Stream gas pipeline after achieving compliance with the recommendations of the EU and specifying clear implementation terms.
Asked whether the companies participating in the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline would be imposed penalties, he said that the European Commission had made an inquiry and the course of the upcoming consultations with its representatives would determine the next steps.
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Russia and Austria have agreed on a joint company to construct the Austrian arm of the $45 billion South Stream gas pipeline project, which is expected to deliver 32 billion cubic meters of Russian gas to the country, bypassing Ukraine.
At Tuesday's meeting in Vienna, the creation of South Stream Austria was announced.The company will be 50 percent owned by Gazprom, Russia's largest gas producer, and 50 percent by Austria’s OMV Group, the country’s largest oil and gas company.
Construction on the Austrian section is expected to begin in 2015 and that the first deliveries will start in 2017, reaching full capacity in January 2018.
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It's easy for the US to play power politics. Bulgaria NEEDS the construction, transport and other jobs from big projects. Note to Embassy - please do not destroy Bulgaria's economy or only listen to the NGOs that you fund. There are other voices. Listen to them. Bulgaria has the absolute right to have its OWN foreign policy and work with Europe, Russia, Turkey and all countries in the Black Sea.