15 Nov 2010 11:56

Bulgaria to reap quadruple revenues with South Stream pipeline launch - Putin

SOFIA. Nov 15 (Interfax) - When the South Stream gas pipeline comes online, Bulgaria stands to quadruple its revenues, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said at a Saturday press conference in Sofia.

"Bulgaria's material winnings are obvious. Bulgaria now received six hundred million euros for gas transit, and with the South Stream project its revenues will be two and a half billion euros," Putin said.

He said these revenues could be used to get gas to the consumer at lower prices. "The cost of Russian gas ought to be between a third and half in the ultimate price for the consumer. Everything else will be local taxes and intermediaries' margins," he said.

"The issue of the price of gas will be in the field of vision" of both countries," Putin said. "Russia and Gazprom do not set these prices administratively. The price of gas is pegged to the price of oil, which is set by market principles on the world's bourses. This is not a price that is set by Gazprom," Putin said.

Putin also said that construction of South Stream was not related to current gas prices but rather to transit security. He recalled 2008-2009, when transit of Russian gas to the Balkans came to a stop due to problems with Ukraine.

"We're proposing to build a pipeline direct from the Russian to the Bulgarian coasts and to guarantee rhythmic, stable energy supply. We're proposing to minimize, eliminate all transit risks," he said.