BA Oil Pipeline Talks Canceled on Greek RequestEnergy | December 13, 2011, Tuesday // 14:04| views
The 280-km pipeline, planned to link the Black Sea port of Burgas to Alexandroupolis on the Aegean Sea, is designed to transport 35 million tons of oil a year. File photo
The meeting of the Control Board of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline project, scheduled in Amsterdam for Wednesday had been canceled.
The news was reported Tuesday by the Bulgarian National Radio, BNR, citing a Transneft representative.
Transneft is the main Russian shareholder in the project.
The Control Board of the project company Trans-Balkan Pipeline was to discuss the situation around plans for the pipeline's construction after the decision of the Bulgarian cabinet to withdraw from the project. The initiative to cancel it had come from the Greek side and had been supported by Russia, the spokesman of Transneft, Igor Diomin, told BNR, pointing out the official Bulgarian position had been received only on Monday.
"Because we are talking of dissolving an inter-government agreement, Transneft will have to receive directions from the Russian cabinet on what actions to undertake and there are a number of possibilities - liquidation, freeze, or continuing work without Bulgaria," Diomin explained.
Claims that Bulgaria can be asked to pay penalties all the way up to USD 1 B were labeled by the Transneft spokesperson as "something close to science fiction."
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Simeon Djankov explained that Bulgaria would seek a termination of the trilateral intergovernmental agreement by mutual consent.
If the request was rejected, Bulgaria would withdraw from the oil pipeline project in 12 months, Djankov added, stressing that the country would not incur sanctions with the step.
The motive behind the government's decision was said to be the fact that Burgas-Alexandroupolis was financially and economically unsound and could not be implemented under the terms of the 2007 agreement.
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