Serbia: Serbia waits for the “South stream“ confirms Energy Minister Antic in a all topics inclusive interview

23. June 2014. / News Serbia Energy

Minister of Mining and Energy, Aleksandar Antić, talks about electricity and gas supply, potential increase of energy price. EU and Russia will decide on the destiny of the pipeline and I am an optimist. Citizens should not be afraid; there will be enough energy sources.

SERBIA, at this point, does not plan to delay the construction works on the “South Stream”, but constantly monitors the situation regarding the entire project. That is also the way other governments, of the countries through whose territory the pipeline goes, behave. We are ready to get into the business, but Serbia is not the one who makes the final decision on the destiny of the entire project. EU and Russia will make that decision, and we believe in the positive outcome.

Aleksandar Antić, Minister of Mining and Energy stated to media regarding a dilemma whether the most important infrastructural project will be implemented.

– What we want is “South Stream” to come to life; there is no doubt in that, because it is the largest infrastructural project in Europe, from which Serbia would have great benefits and energy stability. Thus, the abandonment of the project would be adversely, not only for Serbia, but for a number of countries involved in “South Stream” as well. Therefore, I believe in the prudence of the EU and Russia to find a positive solution. In this respect I am an optimist and I believe that the gas will flow through the “South Stream” regardless the current issues.

* Nevertheless, if, for some reason, the “South Steam” is not realized, what is the fate of the Energy agreement with Russia and what will happen to NIS?

– Energy agreement with Russia is mostly carried out and it is not questionable. However, I repeat, I am also optimistic regarding the fulfillment of the part of the agreement with Russia considering the gas pipeline “South Stream”.

* How do you comment on the request of Europe that Serbia, as a member of the Energy Community Union, respects the Third energy package?

– “South Stream” is a joint venture of Russia and the EU members, and not only one of these parties. In addition, Serbia as a candidate for the membership in the EU and as a member of the European Energy community has the obligations arising from that status. Therefore, whatever applies to the EU members on the route of “South Stream”, will apply to Serbia as well. Thus, it is crucial to reach an agreement “on top”, i.e. between Moscow and Brussels.

* Deputy Prime Minister, Zorana Mihajlović, believes that Serbia should provide alternative routes of gas supply. Does the corresponding Ministry have the plan?

– There is a project of interconnection of Niš – Dimitrovgrad, for which EBRD has provided financing a few years ago, with the part of the IPA fund. EBRD has conditioned the realization of the project by restructuring of the “Srbijagas”, and therefore, unfortunately, the work stands still. I’m sorry that in recent years, nothing has been done in that respect and I’m strongly determined to urgently restructure the “Srbijagas”.

* Should we expect an uncertain winter, as far the energy is concerned, given the fact that the production of coal and electricity is reduced due to the floods?

– Citizens should not fear for their energy supply, it will be stable. All those who are involved in the energy system of the country and who are dedicated to their work, will make sure that that happens.

* What amount of electricity does Serbia plan to import in order to meet the needs?

– It is possible that there will be electricity imports, but what amounts we talk about will depend on the readiness of our production capacities. That’s why our top priority is to recover the coal production and with it also the electricity production to the higher percentage possible before the winter.

* Can we expect electricity price increase?

– Our priority is to find the best solution for draining the water out from the flooded mines and to increase the production of coal for TPP “Nikola Tesla” as much as possible. Depending on the level of coal production, in “Electric Power Industry of Serbia” there are a few options for procurement of the necessary quantity of electricity in the winter. There is no doubt that the electricity import could adversely affect the finances of EPS, which were very poor before the flood. What I insist on is to do the emergency measures of financial recovery of EPS, which include accelerated restructuring and dramatic savings.

* Will the controversial acquisition of EDB reading meters for the flooded areas be examined?

– I am confident that the rehabilitation of the catastrophic flood consequences will be remembered by the procedures in which there were no violations of the law and frauds, as it unfortunately was the case in some previous emergency situations. The government has set the task that none RSD aimed for help must not be abused. Personally, I will demand to clarify all the aspects of the procurement of the reading meters, and if we find some irregularities, the competent authority will deal with that.

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