Russia 'Mulls Directing Part of New Gas Project to Bulgaria'
Pipes purchased for the abandoned South Stream project are "enough" to lay the first and part of the second line of IGTI Poseidon, Gazprom's newest venture possibly involving Bulgaria, a Russian daily has claimed.
Vedomosti quotes a source close to Gazprom as saying two legs, 16 billion cubic meters yearly each, could possibly "be built to Turkley... and to Bulgaria".
Pipes purchased by the project company for South Stream, before it was halted by Russian President Vladimir Putin in December of 2014, could be used to that end, according to the source.
As many as 680 000 pipes designed for the project are now left unused, many of them at the Black Sea port of Varna in Bulgaria.
On Wednesday Gazprom announced it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Edison SpA and DEPA SA, energy companies of Italy and Greece respectively. According to its press statement the Russian energy giant had agreed to deliver gas under the Black Sea "via third countries" to Greece and further to Italy, without naming the "third countries".
Gazprom's new project will constitute its third recent attempt at carrying gas under the Black Sea bed.
The fate of Turkish Stream, the project previously announced as an alternative to South Stream, is now in limbo amid tensions between Ankara and Moscow over the downed Russian warplane, but also amid a dispute over gas pricing.
The announcement about Poseidon has already prompted comments of skepticism.
"The news from Rome [where the memorandum was signed] should not be treated as anything more than an clumsy attempt by the Kremlin to sow distrust amongt EU countries and put Bulgaria and Turkey under strain," Ilian Vassilev, a former Bulgarian ambassador to Moscow, wrote on his blog on Thursday.
"Whatever has been agreed in Rome it has a zero net present value without a corresponding agreeement for a gas pipeline entering either or both Turkish or Bulgarian shores. And both routes are distantly hypothetical and beyond the reach of either governments as the ball is totally in the EC's court."
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