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Monday, October 13, 2008

Gas projects in Russia unaffected by financial crisis

MOSCOW, October 13 (RIA Novosti) - The tough economic situation in Russia and the world will not affect Russian natural gas projects, such as the Nord Stream and South Stream pipelines, the president of the Russian Gas Union said on Monday. "These projects are so advanced that the crisis will not affect them," Valery Yazev told the press. Speaking about Nord Stream, Yazev said the timeframe for launching the pipeline, the budget and the costing had already been fixed. The official also dismissed speculation that the crisis could also affect projects in the east of the country, such as the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean (ESPO) pipeline. The ESPO pipeline is slated to pump up to 1.6 million barrels of crude per day from Siberia to Russia's Far East and then onto China and the Asia-Pacific region. He also was confident that projects involving major Russian state-run companies, such as energy giant Gazprom, oil major Rosneft and pipeline monopoly Transneft, would not be frozen. "The government will do its utmost for projects to be implemented according to schedule," Yazev said. The Nord Stream pipeline, which will pump gas from Siberia to Europe under the Baltic Sea, is being built jointly by Gazprom and Germany's E.ON and BASF and Dutch gas transportation firm, Gasunie, at an estimated cost of $12 billion. The first deliveries along the South Stream pipeline are scheduled to start in 2013. The project, expected to annually pump 30 billion cubic meters of Central Asian and Russian gas to the Balkans and on to other European countries, involves Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Italy and Greece.

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