Serbian Minister of Energy Zorana Mihajlovic dismissed the speculations that someone from the government is hindering the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline, stressing that Serbia has done all it needed to do for this great project to be launched.
“In the last five months, we have adopted the Law on the South Stream and expropriation of land without which the construction would be technically impossible. We have also adopted the rules on the gas pipeline with pressure rate up to 16 bar, which was necessary for the start of pipelaying,” Mihajlovic said for Belgrade-based daily Politika.
She said that the Serbian government has secured EUR 170 million from the budget for 2013, adding that the money will be used for the beginning of the expropriation of land over which the South Stream will spread.
At the same time, a state committee for this project has been formed, and right now talks are under way to clear Srbijagas’ debt to Naftna Industrija Srbije, the petroleum industry of Serbia, amounting to around EUR 190 million.
Mihajlovic said that the construction in Russia has kicked off, but that this has not happened in Bulgaria where the pipes will also spread and enter Serbia. As for Serbia, it is waiting for a green light of the company in charge of the South Stream to start the construction.
When asked whether Gazprom Chairman Alexey Miller spoke about a delay of construction of the South Stream gas pipeline during his last week’s visit to Serbia, Mihajlovic said that he reiterated that everything will be done in the given deadline, and that the gas should start flowing through the pipes in 2016.
The construction of the pipeline in Serbia could start late in 2013 or early in 2013 by laying the cornerstone for the first compression station, the daily reads.