Pipeline South Stream is not delayed because of Serbia says minister Zorana Mihajlovic, lobby slows down works in Serbia?

8. April 2013. / News Serbia Energy

Zorana Mihajlovic, Minister of Energy, rejected speculations that someone from the Government hinders the construction of South Stream project”.

Postponing the construction start of the main branch of South Stream pipeline that was being announced to begin in December last year is not related to Serbia. Our country did everything required for launching the work- Zorana Mihajlovic confirmed this yesterday when she was rejecting the speculations that someone from Government is slowing the construction which was the reason for Aleksey Miller complained to Aleksandar Vucic supposedly.

-The law for South Stream and land expropriation was adopted in the last few months. Besides, the rulebook for pipeline, of 16 bar pressure necessary for the pipe laying was made also. Government provided 170 million EUR from the budget for this year that will actually go to land expropriation where South Stream will pass- she explained.

National committee that is responsible for this job was formed and write-off of Srbijagas’s debt was discussed at the same time. Srbijagas owes 190 million EUR to Serbian Oil Industry. Mihajlovic says that construction started in Russian but it didn’t start in Bulgaria where pipes are also passing to enter Serbia. We are waiting a green light from the company that is responsible for construction of South Stream and launch construction physically.

When she was asked if Miller talked about being late or postponing the deadlines for cooperation, Mijajlovic said that he had repeated that everything will be done in predicted deadline and that the first gas should begin to flow in 2016.

The construction in Serbia can begin at the end of this or in the beginning of next year by setting a ground stone for the first compressor station.

Vojislav Vuletic, President of Serbian Gas Association, says that speculations about that someone from government is trying to stop the South Stream construction launching are coming from the same people who are supporting the “Nabuko”, American pipeline, construction. This pipeline doesn’t have gas reservoirs or any other chance to be constructed.

When he was asked who are those people he said that they are lobbying to decrease Serbian dependency from Russian gas and therefore they let the balloons, but unsuccessfully. That Russians begin construction in December and Serbia still isn’t does not put into question if the pipeline will pass over Serbia. When Germans were constructing the North Stream, construction wasn’t launched in every country at the same time. When pipes came to German shore, pipe laying in Germany began- Vuletic explains.

He says that there is much time for pipes to arrive in Bulgaria and then to us, stressing that the big job of setting pipes on seabed is waiting on Russians. Considering pipe by pipe system, much time will be needed for pipeline to come to Serbia. It is realistic to happen at the end of this or in the beginning of next year.

Except for these 170 million EUR in budget planned for South Stream construction, the rest of the money will be provided by credit. 24 million EUR will go to the property owners where pipeline will pass and this supposes to pay buyout of 8.000 hectares of land for South Stream. According to last information, about 5.000 agreed to sell land to the state and only constructions are being awaited.

The question, how big needs for gas will be here, remains. Gas consumption in the last few years decreases because heating on electricity is cheaper than gas heating so the certainty of the strategy according to which Serbia should have around 450.000 of gasified households is put into question.

Source;Serbia Energy/Politika daily/Agencies/MERZ

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