Last month, Russian media reported that the launch of the Serbian section of the TurkStream gas pipeline could be postponed at least by the next spring, and a potential reason for the delay lies in the construction of a compressor station.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said that Serbia will complete its section of Turkstream gas pipeline extension (so-called Balkan Stream) by the end of the year. President Vucic added that following the launch of the pipeline, Serbia will have to extend its secondary gas distribution network, primarily Belgrade-Valjevo and Nis-Dimitrovgrad pipelines.
The Serbian part of TurkStream, which connects the Bulgarian and the Hungarian sections between Zajecar and Horgos, is 403 kilometers long and has a capacity of 13.9 billion cubic meters of gas a year. The gas started flowing through TurkStream to Bulgaria, Greece and North Macedonia in early 2020, but the beginning of the delivery to Serbia and Hungary, planned for the first half of the year, has already been postponed for the end of the year, because Bulgaria could not complete its part on time.
President of the Serbian Gas Association Vojislav Vuletic said earlier that, although gas pipeline in Serbia and Bulgaria are now connected, first volumes of gas through the pipeline are expected in May 2021. Director of Serbian gas company Srbijagas Dusan Bajatovic also said that Serbian compressor station along the route of the pipeline will be completed in May 2021, by which time Bulgaria will complete its first compressor station, while the second one will be built in 2022. He added that it is expected that commercial operation of the pipeline could start in third or fourth quarter of 2021. Serbia has completed the laying of the pipes for its section of the TurkStream gas pipeline extension in December last year. The construction of Serbian section, connecting Bulgarian and Hungarian borders, has officially started in May 2019. With an envisaged capacity of almost 14 billion cubic meters of gas per year, 403 kilometers long Serbian section should be put into operation as early as 2020, and reach its full capacity during 2022. The operator of the pipeline in Serbia is local company Gastrans, a joint venture between Russian Gazprom and state-owned gas company Srbijagas.