Construction of Bulgarian South Stream Section Set for June 2013 - GazpromEnergy | December 21, 2012, Friday // 14:51| views
The route of the South Stream gas transit pipeline in Bulgaria. Map from Gazprom's website
The construction of European overland section of the Russian-sponsored gas transit pipeline South Stream will start in Bulgaria in June 2013, according to a Gazprom statement.
The announcement, which followed a meeting of the board of directors of the Russian energy giant, says that a schedule for the construction of South Stream on Bulgarian territory and the launch of the facilities will be adopted shortly.
It added that at present the South Stream venture is updating its plant for the realization of the pipeline project in Bulgaria for 2013-2017.
In Serbia, such a plan was already adopted for 2013-2016, and an environmental impact assessment is under way, it said, adding that in Hungary there is a preparation for the project paperwork, while in Slovenia the planning of the EIA and the route of the pipeline is under way. In Macedonia, Russia's Energy Ministry is working out cooperation for natural gas deliveries once South Stream is completed.
Gazprom also reminded that in December 2012 it got a confirmation from the government of Croatia for its participation in South Stream and the construction of the pipeline on its territory.
At present, South Stream Transport, the company in charge of the underwater section of the pipeline, is conducting engineering explorations, preparing tender paperwork, and conducting talks with potential builders of the first underwater section of South Stream.
The start of the South Stream gas deliveries is said to be set for the end of 2015. The construction of the pipe was launched on December 7, 2012, in Russia.
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. Construction will start in December 2012, and not 2013 as previously planned.
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.
In order to service the supplies for South Stream, Russia will expand its own gas transit network by building additional 2 446 km of pipelines with 10 compressor stations with a total capacity of 1473 MW, a project to be called "South Corridor" and to be completed in two stages by 2019.
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 recently 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.
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