South Stream to Start Deliveries on Schedule - Gazprom CEO
Gazprom chief Alexey Miller made clear that first supplies through the South Stream gas pipeline are to be in end-2015, as previously planned.
South Stream "corresponds to the interests of all countries taking part in the project, and this is why Gazprom and its partners will do anything to complete its construction within the timetable," RIA Novosti agency quoted Miller as saying at Gazprom's General Shareholders meeting Friday.
His words come just weeks after Bulgaria, the country where the pipeline enters the EU, announced it would freeze construction to comply with requirements of the EU Commission.
Many have assumed since then whether the project could be in danger, despite EU assurances it would be carried out.
Brussels says it asked only a temporary halt so that infringement proceedings against Bulgaria could be conducted.
The Commission is concerned about public procurement issues and incompatibility with the Third Energy Package reportedly allowed by South Stream Bulgaria.
Russia's envoy to the EU Vladimir Chizhov reiterated Friday that "no evidence" existed of South Stream's non-compliance with EU legislation.
Chizhov argued resistance against the project came from those western "circles" that were seeking to place Ukraine's gas transportation system under their control.
South Stream is considered to be an option to provide Russian gas avoiding Ukraine, which Moscow says is potentially unstable following 2009's Russian-Ukrainian gas dispute.
Apart from Bulgaria, other South Stream partners such as Serbia and Austria have reconfirmed their commitment to the project, with Austrian OMV signing a deal with Gazprom on the pipeline earlier this week.
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