Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Foreign Minister Kalfin: Romania Not Likely to Replace Bulgaria in South Stream

Sofia News Agency

Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Ivaylo Kalfin stated Tuesday he did not believe it was likely that the Russian-sponsored South Stream gas transit pipeline would go around Bulgaria using Romania's territory.

Kalfin made this statement during the opening of the first national conference on energy and climate change in Sofia.

His comment came in response to Monday's publication in the Russian newspaper Kommersant claiming that Gazprom might select Romania instead of Bulgaria as its partner for the South Stream pipeline.

In its article Kommersant pointed out that at the end of last week the Gazprom head Aleksei Miller had met in Moscow with representatives of Romania's Transgaz and Rompetrol.

The paper also emphasized that the Bulgarian government and especially the Energy Minister Petar Dimitrov wanted to make the Bulgarian state the owner of the South Stream pipeline on Bulgaria's territory, whereas Gazprom insisted it should own the facility.

According to the Foreign Minister Kalfin, there was clearly competition on the energy market in the region including with respect to the natural gas deliveries.

"However, I do believe that as far as South Stream is concerned Bulgaria is far ahead of its neighbors. We have signed a contract, it is clear, and it is being acted upon so there is no need and no motive for pressure for anything", the Bulgarian Foreign Minister explained.

Bulgaria and Russia signed the agreement for the construction of the South Stream pipeline, which is widely seen as competitive to the EU-sponsored Nabucco, during former President Putin's visit to Sofia in January 2008.

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