Bulgaria prioritizes Nabucco over South Stream gas pipeline

Bulgaria prioritizes Nabucco over South Stream gas pipeline
# 13 June 2010 01:19 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. The European Nabucco gas pipeline project is more important for Bulgaria than the Russia-backed South Stream project, Bulgaria’s deputy foreign minster said, APA reports quoting RIA Novosti.
Bulgarian media cited Marin Raykov as saying on Saturday that the Russian project "raises a lot of questions," while the Nabucco is an innovative project, which may serve as an example of an efficient state-private partnership in energy sphere.
"Bulgaria will work with its European partners to complete by the end of 2010 all the procedures necessary to start the construction [of the Nabucco pipeline]," Raykov said.
The diplomat added that his country would strive to become "independent and efficient" in its energy policy.
The 3,300-kilometer Nabucco pipeline construction project is estimated at $7.9 billion, and will transfer natural gas from the Caspian region through Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and Austria, bypassing Russia. The pipeline is to pump 20-30 billion cubic meters of gas annually.
The EU-backed Nabucco pipeline is widely considered a rival to the South Stream project, which will pump 63 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas annually to Bulgaria, Italy and Austria and is part of Russia’s efforts to cut dependence on transit nations, particularly Ukraine and Turkey.
Bulgaria said on Friday that two other joint projects with Russia - the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline and a nuclear power plant in Belene - were "economically unprofitable and unreasonable."
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov said the country could reject plans to develop the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline project with Russia and Greece due to environmental concerns and fold the nuclear power plant construction, which was being carried out by Russia’s AtomStroyExport, because of a lack of investors.
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