Serbia: Cancelled South Stream, gas options for Serbia?

, News Serbia Energy

While the “South Stream” is at the political seesaw between Russia and Europe, gas in the Serbian storages “swings” at the bottom of the long-term stocks.

While the “South Stream” is at the political seesaw between Russia and Europe, gas in the Serbian storages “swings” at the bottom of the long-term stocks. Although Serbia in “Banatski Dvor” has enough blue energy source for this whole winter, the canceled Russian pipeline destroyed our plans for the energy stability of the country in the long run.

Belgrade currently cannot get any pipeline that would so effectively, but also cheaply “warmed up” the country as it could “South Stream”, experts agree. However, as an alternative to this project Serbia could find the energy nodes farther to the south of the “South Stream” – in Greek stock in Thrace, through which could pass the routes of a new Russian-Turkish pipeline, but also European Trans-Adriatic plan, “Southern Corridor” . We can get Additional security from the direction of Bulgaria, in line Nis – Dimitrovgrad.

Also the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of construction, transport and infrastructure Zorana Mihajlovic thinks that the time while waiting to be solved the “South Stream” destiny should use to think about alternatives.

– We need to work more inventively on alternatives over which the gas could come to Serbia, and state has to decide what is the most important for the future – said Mihajlovic. – It is a gas pipeline Nis – Dimitrovgrad, who was not the competition to “South Stream”. It is an attempt to obtain a second route that is important to us for gas, another gas supplier, and even perhaps connection on Greece and, perhaps connection on this new pipeline that Russia plans to build with the Turks. It is important that opportunities exist.

Greek base

The energy map of Europe and Asia are mutually connected by numerous potential gas pipelines. The new Turkish-Russian “friendship” makes these days the route of the pipeline, which would start from the compressor station “Ruskaja” which is being built in the Krasnodar region. On the bottom of the Black Sea, the gas should go to Turkey and “flows through” to the border with Greece.

The capacity of 63 billion cubic meters of blue energy will be divided into 14 billion cubic meters that will “swell” to the Turkish consumers. Significantly greater amount, 50 billion cubic meters of gas will be precisely transported in Greece.

– The pipeline, which was agreed in principle between the President of Russia and Turkey has always been alternative to the “South Stream”, and map has been created yet in 2008th – says Ljubinko Savic, secretary of the Serbian Energy Association. – This route would be built in parallel with the “Blue Stream”, by which for a decade has been transported around 16 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas to the Turkish consumers. The idea is that the gas is supplied to the border between Greece and Turkey and to make gas storage in Thrace, as well as a distribution center. From there, the gas went to the Balkans and Italy.

European solution

Russian-Turkish pipeline, according to Savic, could be connected with the Trans-Adriatic line in Greece, a major element of “Southern Corridor”, the track that Europe has appointed as his alternative “South Stream”. This corridor would have two ways through which the gas, regardless of the Russian gas pipelines from the Caspian basin and Central Asia would arrive via Turkey, Greece and Albania to Italy and further into the EU.

– Once the parallels between the two routes is set up, both Russian version via Turkey and European connection from Azerbaijan, and on the other side of the “South Stream”, the calculation is not good for us – says Savic. – The new corridors are not transit, or they would not pass through Serbia and go away, so that it could collect taxes. Only the amount necessary for supply would come, but not the possession of energy. Then would fell off the ability to build the natural gas power plants and thus to become an electricity exporter. We would not even have the energy to strengthen the petrochemical industry.

Trans-Adriatic line, experts agree, cannot be a substitute to the “South Stream” because its capacity is six times smaller. This pipeline can meet the needs of only two percent of Europe’s blue energy source, which is, by comparison, as much as Italy and Greece need. Neither financial structure, at least at this point, goes into the hands of Serbia.

– To drag a node here from Greece or Macedonia, we need about three billion EUR, which is about three times more than the “South Stream” – thought Boban Atanackovic from AD “Nafta”. – Serbia would pay far less cost for the original Russian pipeline , especially since the Russians would finance a large part, and also hire our construction operative that would get half a billion for it. If we delivery the pipeline from the south, through Macedonia and Bulgaria, probably we would have to pay it ourselves.

Bulgarian route

The first man in the Ministry of Energy Aleksandar Antic announced yesterday that the preparation of project documentation for the construction of gas interconnections with Bulgaria was underway.

– Funds for spatial plan which will set the exact pipeline route have been predicted in the budget for 2015th – said Antic. – EU has provided funds to Bulgaria for its section, while we speak how it will be financed the Serbian section.

The section from Nis to Dimitrovgrad is 180 kilometers long and it has capacity of 1.8 billion cubic meters of gas. The deal is worth 120 MEUR.
-The gas pipeline from Bulgaria is an alternative to the existing “pipes” by which gas arrives in Serbia from Ukraine via Hungary – says Vojislav Vuletic from Gas Association. – This would largely exclude the possibility of future gas shortages, as was the case in 2009th.

Estimates suggest that, because we have not yet made a route that would replace the gas delivery from Hungary, Serbia annually loses about 20 million dollars.