Bulgaria without South Stream Transit Fees until 2030Energy | October 1, 2012, Monday // 09:15| views
Мap of Russian-sponsored South Stream.
Bulgaria will not finance with money its section of the Russian gas pipeline South Stream in exchange of not receiving transit fees until 2030.
According to bTV, this would be the final agreement on the South Stream deal, to be sealed in mid-November.
On Saturday, Minister of Economy and Energy, Delyan Dobrev, commented for the media that the financial participation of Bulgaria in this project will be symbolic, noting until now the Bulgarian Energy Holding, BEH, has spent only EUR 6 M, which is its share in the EUR 12 M capital of the joint company between BEH and Russian energy giant Gazprom that is to build and manage the pipe on Bulgarian territory.
Under earlier agreements, Bulgaria had to secure 30% of the financing of the project, but BEH could not afford the amount of BGN 900 M due to the poor financial state of its subsidiaries Bulgargaz and the National Electric Company, NEK.
The South Stream pipeline is intended to transport up to 63 billion cubic meters of natural gas to central and southern Europe, diversifying Russian gas routes away from transit countries such as Ukraine.
The pipes will go from Russia to Bulgaria via the Black Sea; in Bulgaria it will split in two – with the northern leg going through Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, and Slovenia to Austria and Northern Italy, and the southern leg going through Greece to Southern Italy. Recent reports have indicated, however, that Russian energy giant Gazprom may give up on the construction of the offshore section of the South Stream gas pipeline to Austria.
The Black Sea underwater section of South Stream between Russia and Bulgaria will be 900 km long, and will be constructed at a maximum depth of 2 km.
The construction of the South Stream gas pipeline will begin in December 2012, and the first supplies for Europe are scheduled for December 2015.
The pipeline's core shareholders include Gazprom with 50%, Italy's Eni with 20% and Germany's Wintershall Holding and France's EDF with 15% each.
Gazprom has already established national joint ventures with companies from Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia, Greece, Hungary and Serbia to manage the onshore section of the South Stream pipeline.
Bulgaria has committed itself to speeding up the construction of the Russian-sponsored pipeline on its territory, since on January 1, 2013, the EU is introducing new requirements for the access to energy networks.
According to a recently leaked report of the European Commission, Bulgaria must commit more thoroughly to the development of the EU-sponsored Southern Energy Corridor (also known as Southern Gas Corridor) aimed at diversifying natural gas suppliers to Europe.
The draft report of the EC, which is still to be released, criticizes Bulgaria for throwing its weight mostly behind South Stream, while lacking sufficient commitment to EU's attempts to develop the Southern Energy Corridor.
The Southern Gas Corridor is a key element of competing projects to bring natural gas to Europe from the offshore Shah Deniz II field in Azerbaijan.
South Stream is widely seen as a competitor to the Southern Gas Corridor.
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