Russia Determined to Build Trans-Balkan Pipe, Cut Costs

Business » ENERGY | March 27, 2012, Tuesday // 09:49| Views: | Comments: 0
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Bulgaria: Russia Determined to Build Trans-Balkan Pipe, Cut Costs The 280-km pipeline, planned to link the Black Sea port of Burgas to Alexandroupolis on the Aegean Sea, was designed to transport 35 million tons of oil a year. File photo

Russia has reiterated its determination to construct the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline and reduce the price tag of the project, following Bulgaria's withdrawal.

This was confirmed by Trans-Balkan Pipeline consortium advisory board member Mikhail Barkov, as cited by RIA Oreanda-News.

Russia will insist on executing the Burgas-Alexandroupolis project given minimization of costs on it, Barkov said.

The agreement to build the oil pipeline was signed in 2008, but at the end of 2011 Bulgaria revealed it is giving up on the project, and paid the Russian and Greek sides the needed dues.

In the interview, Barkov stated that the Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline, which will diversify ways to bring oil from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean, will outlive political passions.

Referring to Bulgaria's Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, Barkov recently famously said that "Boykos come and go, but Bulgarians' love for Russia is for ever."

The Bulgarian government said in December last year that it will leave the project, which involved building a pipeline through Bulgaria and Greece to transport Russian oil from the Black Sea to the Aegean, bypassing the Bosphorus.

The government said it is quitting the project as not economically efficient, after months of sending negative signals as to its commitment to it.

Bulgaria's Finance Minister Simeon Djankov has expressed confidence that the withdrawal will not force the country to pay anything more than its EUR 6 M outstanding dues on the project, which accrued during its advance financing. The sum was transferred at the beginning of February 2012.

Russia has insisted on preserving the existence of a company to manage the project in the long term.

At the present moment, Bulgaria's position calls for a cancellation of the intergovernmental agreement to build the pipeline, while Greece supports the Russian stance.

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