Russia Calm after Bulgaria Quits BA Pipeline, Will Seek Damages - Press
The Russian press has widely commented Thursday the Bulgarian government's decision to quit the joint Russian-Bulgarian-Greek Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline.
Bulgaria has been postponing its decision whether to continue the pipeline project for too long, and Russian company Transneft had the time to brace for such a scenario, writes Vzlyad.
The paper, joined by Kommersant, also says that Russia has other options, such as pressing the Samsun-Ceyhan pipeline that is to travel from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean via the territory of Turkey.
The Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline has not been all that vital to Russian energy interests, conclude commentators.
Nevertheless, Kommersant writes that the Russian and Greek parties to the project are not likely to let Bulgaria go easy and will press for greater damages than Bulgaria expects.
Bulgarian Minister of Finance Simeon Djankov stated Wednesday that the Bulgarian cabinet has taken into account all legal points, and expects to pay no more than EUR 6.7 M.
The Vedomosti paper adds that the procedure for Bulgaria's exit from the project is likely to be discussed next Wednesday at a meeting of the project company Trans Balkan Pipeline.
The construction of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline has long been hampered by the uncommitted position of the Bulgarian government headed by PM Boyko Borisov.
The Bulgarian side has variously claimed the project is not economically profitable for Bulgaria, that the government has no money to execute it, and that it is environmentally hazardous.
The 280-km pipeline, planned to link the Black Sea port of Burgas to Alexandroupolis on the Aegean Sea in Greece, 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.
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