Russia Asks Bulgaria to Issue South Stream Construction Permits
Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak on Friday urged Bulgaria to issue in timely manner all permits relating to the construction of the seabed section of the South Stream gas pipeline project.
In a telephone conversation with Novak his Bulgarian counterpart Temenuzhka Petkova said that the process is already underway with some documents already issued and others - still in coordination phase – to be issued soon, the energy ministry in Sofia said in a statement.
The conversation between Petkova and Novak comes in the wake of the announcement by Russian President Vladimir Putin that Moscow was abandoning South Stream in favour of project for a new pipeline under the Black Sea that would carry Russian gas to Turkey with an option for the construction of a gas distribution hub at the country’s border with Turkey for possible deliveries to the EU.
In line with Moscow’s decision to abandon the project, the South Stream Transport company, which is building the underwater section of the pipeline, has notified all companies producing and supplying pipes for the project to freeze those activities, Russian daily Vedomosti reported on Friday.
Petkova also informed Novak about Bulgaria’s recent suggestion to the European Commission to build a gas distribution hub near the Black Sea city of Varna where the South Stream pipeline is projected to come ashore. She also invited Novak to visit Bulgaria.
The Russian Energy Minister replied that Moscow was ready to discuss the suggestion to build a gas hub on Bulgarian territory once it received an official proposal from the EU Commission, according to the Bulgarian Energy Ministry statement.
Meanwhile, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov said on Friday that Sofia will issue all permissions needed for starting the construction of South Stream to fend off accusations of derailing the project.
“I have received the full support and understanding of the European Council. Bulgaria should not be held responsible and pay the fines for the project’s termination,” Borisov said following talks with EU leaders on the sidelines of the EU summit in Brussels.
If Gazprom terminated the project without taking into account the permissions issued by Bulgaria, it would be its fault, not Bulgaria’s, Borisov added.
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