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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Romania Might Substitute Bulgaria In "South Stream"

South Stream vs. Nabucco10-20-2008 - by Olga Yoncheva - Last week the director of Gazprom Alexey Miller has conducted a series of talks in Moscow with the leaders of the Romanian companies “Transgas” and “Romgas” for supply of gas to Romania till 2030. This writes Komersant newspaper. According to the edition the possibilities for attracting Romania in the “South stream” project as well as the possibility the country to substitute Bulgaria have been discussed. A source from the Russian ministry of energy confirmed to “Komersant” that the possibility Bulgaria to be substituted by Romania in the project was being explored (in this case the route is shortened with 100 km), but refused to give details. Initially Romania was seen as an alternative to Serbia. However, in the last half year all legislative hurdles in the relations between Serbia and Romania within the “South stream” project were cleared up. The arrangements for the gas pipeline with Sofia, Budapest and Belgrade were reached in 2007. However, the Bulgarian authorities insist on the part of the pipeline which crosses Bulgarian territory to be property of the state, while “Gazprom” wants it to be Russian. Similar problems emerged in Serbia and Hungary. Apparently the main problem for the realization of the “South stream” project is not the impossibility for negotiations with the East European countries but the general mistrust of the European Union towards Russia and “Gazprom”. On the EU summit on 1 September this year the European leaders unanimously decided to distinguish the sources of energy supply. At first they will concentrate all their efforts in the implementation of the “Nabucco” project, which is a direct rival of “South stream” and should supply gas to Europe from the Caspian region by eliminating Russia. The Romanian company “Transgas” and the Bulgarian “Bulgargas” are shareholders in the “Nabucco” project. This is why the aim of the talks with Romania is to persuade Sofia or Bucharest participate in “South stream” and not “Nabucco”.

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