BELGRADE (Sputnik) – Serbia and other countries of the Balkan region have to pay a heavy price for the disruption for political reasons of the South Stream gas pipeline project, which was very much expected, Serbian Foreign Minister and First Deputy Prime Minister Dacic said.
“Unfortunately, although the EU has convinced us that this project is feasible and will be agreed, it is not being implemented now. On the other hand, the reality is that the Nord Stream could be excluded from the Third Energy Package, but the South Stream could not. Serbia and other countries of the region that favored the South Stream had to pay a price [for its cancellation],” the foreign minister Ivica Dacic told the Euro-Asian Energy Security Forum in Belgrade on Saturday.
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The South Stream gas pipeline designed to transport Russian gas through the Black Sea to the Balkans had to be abandoned due to the European Union’s Third Energy Package that stipulates that companies engaged in gas production cannot be owners of the main pipelines located in the region.
In February, during the visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to Belgrade, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said that Belgrade was planning to continue buying Russian gas, including through the TurkStream gas pipeline, which is now under construction.
Prior to meeting Lavrov, Vucic told Sputnik that options were being discussed for a planned 105-kilometer (65-mile) inter-connector pipeline from Bulgaria to Serbia, which should be put into operation in 2020, to pump gas from the TurkStream.
The TurkStream pipeline comprises two lines each having the capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters (556.2 billion cubic feet) per year. One line is expected to supply natural gas solely for consumption in Turkey. The second string will transport gas to European countries through Turkey, and is scheduled for completion in 2019. Gazprom is considering options for continuing the TurkStream either through Bulgaria and Serbia, or through Greece and Italy.