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Commenting article: Bulgaria to Lose Role as Gas Transit Country - Gazprom CEO

Bulgaria, and not the European Union, should be blamed for the demise of the South Stream project, Russian energy concern Gazprom's CEO Alexey Miller has reiterated.

Miller told a Russian TV channel on Sunday Bulgaria would lose the role of a transit country it is currently enjoying, carrying 18 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas to Turkey, Macedonia and Greece.

"After the realization of the offshore pipeline project leading to Turkey all these volumes will be carried via Turkey, and not via Bulgaria," he asserted. Miller's estimates suggest the country's total loss would be EUR 3 B a year if his scenario unfolds.

Gazprom had previously hinted at having to reduce the flow of gas pumped through the existing infrastructure if South Stream was built, as the explicit idea of the project was to circumvent Ukraine.

Miller also explained in a TV interview cited by TASS agency that the decision to abandon South Stream (the project is "absolutely closed" in his words) marks the beginning of a move by Gazprom to change its strategy on the EU's gas market.

Russian President Vladimir Putin declared South Stream abandoned on Monday evening while on a visit to Turkey. So far none of the countries that take part in the project has officially received any notice.

"The European Union, the European Commission just gave the gas tap to Turkey as a present. And I think Turkey could make use of this in its dialogue with Europe," Miller also claimed.

"We gained a new strategic partner in the gas business," he went on, adding a boost of gas transit through the country's territory, which could result in a total amount of 50 bcm being transported, will raise its geopolitical profile within the region.

He stressed Turkey "is de facto becoming such a hub as the one Germany is for Northern Europe."

Gazprom's chief executive also described the Commission's decision to "block" South Stream as "a targeted policy of the EU".

Though he stopped short of raising a hypothesis of bringing the project back to life, he asked: "Who would give us guarantees this [situation] will not be repeated in a month, two [months], half a year?"

In Miller's view Gazprom would not register any kind of loss after scrapping South Stream, since the EUR 4 B already spent were invested into infrastructure on Russian soil, and that could have a use in the alternative pipeline the concern is to build to Turkey.

Fester - 6 Dec 2014 // 14:49:13

Oh poor us Bulgars, Mr. Miller the mafioso is upset at us for rejecting the Sultan's and his "gifts." Of course, if we repent and come back to the Sultan's arms begging for mercy the Sultan might change his mind and build the pipeline again and give us a lot of money. The Sultan said it was 400 billion but it could also be trillions since nothing was ever negotiated or penned on paper. Russia has always been very generous to us and has given BG many "gifts." LOL.

Russia will never build anything to Turkey. As many analysts have noted, Southstream was cancelled by them because it was economically unfeasible especially now that they are facing the real risk of bankruptcy in 2015 with the collapse of the Rouble and the oil price coming down to $50 a barrel and they need it at $120 to break even.

Mat - 6 Dec 2014 // 16:03:23

Gas transit revenues through Bulgaria are anyway mostly misappropriated by a select group of individuals in the energy sector. So no great loss there.

Baka no kaze - 6 Dec 2014 // 19:36:53

It's not about the bulgarians repenting or not repenting. It's just that the gas will go through turkey once the pipeline is built. whether the bulgarians like it or not is not the point. It's just fact they now have to live with.

Freaks - 7 Dec 2014 // 11:30:20

It seems to be 'the case of sour grapes'...your comment is.
I understand how you must feel knowing that you've lost your must hurt - A LOT!
You are mere puppets to Washington, aren't you?!

Poor, poor Bulgarians.

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