27 Jul 2010 17:51

Ukraine proposes alternative to South Stream

KYIV. July 27 (Interfax) - Ukraine has proposed a project for expanding its gas transport system as an alternative to the South Stream gas pipeline, Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said.

"We have recently come up with another idea. It's an alternative to South Stream: modernization of the system of our southern pipelines, which will make it possible to supply the same amount of gas as Russia plans to supply via South Stream to the same place in the EU," Azarov told a briefing in Kyiv on Tuesday.

The proposed project is currently at the stage of technical negotiations, the prime minister said.

"We have submitted it and stated our readiness. Negotiations are underway," he said.

Azarov also said Ukraine regularly contacts EU officials on the project to modernize Ukraine's gas transport system.

"Our contacts on this issue are constant. The EU is greatly interested, but let's make an allowance for the fact that we have only been working on this matter for four months. Every month we have several top-level meetings on this issue. That indicates the interest of the EU," Azarov said.

According to earlier reports, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in early Jun announced that Ukraine is ready to create a gas transport consortium to increase the transit of gas to Europe to 200 billion cubic meters a year. He said the creation of a joint company involving EU and Russian officials will help begin the construction of a pipeline through the territory of Ukraine that will ensure additional gas transit to Europe.