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Bulgaria’s economy minister says South Stream project may be resumed any time

January 11, 21:44 UTC+3 SOFIA
According to the Russian Energy Ministry, the status of the South Stream gas pipeline project remains the same
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©  EPA/KOCA SULEJMANOVIC

SOFIA, January 11. /TASS/. The South Stream pipeline project is not implemented for the time being but may be resumed at any time, Bulgaria’s Minister of Economy Bozhidar Lukarski said on Monday in the air with bTV channel.

"This matter is supervised by the energy ministry but I know as a government member that no official information was received from Russian partners on that matter. I may add the South Stream was frozen but not terminated. The South Stream is indeed idle now but it may be resumed at any time. I would like to say again that no specific official information is available. The "rumor" is the most accurate definition for the situation. I may confirm that the government discussed our project of building a gas hub and recognized it as promising," Lukarski said.

The status of the South Stream gas pipeline project remains the same and the project is on hold, representative of the Russian Energy Ministry told TASS earlier.

The press service of the Bulgarian government made a similar comment.

Earlier Bulgarian media reported that the works on the South Stream project will be resumed within a few weeks. According to the Standart newspaper, "Moscow is returning to the "South Stream" pipeline, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov told his immediate surroundings." The project on construction of the natural gas pipeline is likely to be one of the items on the agenda of the upcoming meeting of the Russian-Bulgarian intergovernmental commission on commercial and economic and scientific and technological cooperation, which is due to be held in Sofia in end-January after a 5-year break, Standart reported.

On December 1, 2014 President Vladimir Putin said Russia will not implement the South Stream project amid current environment. Chairman of Gazprom's Management Committee Alexey Miller said the project was no longer relevant.

In December 2014, Italian Saipem received a notice from its client South Stream Transport BV /100% affiliated company of Russia’s Gazprom/ lifting suspension of the pipeline construction. Saipem, a subsidiary of Italian energy company ENI, was awarded with the contract on pipes laying for the offshore segment of the South Stream gas pipeline. The work was suspended at the request of the customer after Russia announced the project shutdown.

The South Stream gas pipeline project worth 15.5 bln euro provides for supplies of 67 bln cubic meters of natural gas per year to Europe.

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