16 Jul 2010 19:36

Russia and Bulgaria to continue with roadmap negotiations for South Stream on Sat

MOSCOW. July 16 (Interfax) - Russia and Bulgaria will continue negotiations on Saturday for signing a roadmap for developing a feasibility study for the construction of the Bulgaria section of the South Stream gas pipeline, Irina Esipova, Advisor to Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko, told journalists.

Discussions commenced on Friday in Varna, Bulgaria. Shmatko is heading the Russian delegation. Energy Minister Traicho Traikov represents Bulgaria. In addition, Gazprom's Deputy CEO Alexander Medvedev, Bulgargaz head Dimitar Gogov, Bulgartransgaz board chairman Georgy Gegov and the executive director of Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH) Maya Khristova are also present at the negotiations.

"The negotiations that started this morning will continue tomorrow. The main item on the day's agenda is the signing of roadmap for the South Stream project," Esipova said. She added that negotiations so far have been constructive.

First Deputy Prime Minsiter and Gazprom Chairman Viktor Zubkov visited Bulgaria at the start of July where he held negations with Bulgarian Prime Minsiter Boyko Borisov for the country's involvement in South Stream. "We will consider that the Bulgarian government has given full understanding about its involvement in the South Stream project," he said, stressing that Borisov had confirmed Bulgaria's intentions.

Zubkov said that a roadmap would settle a whole range of issues related to the project's implementation in Bulgaria.

He also said work has already started following agreement signings. "This is a good signal, that South Stream is started and will go through all countries as predicted," Zubkov said at the time.

Intergovernmental agreements have been signed with agreements with Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Greece, Slovenia, Croatia and Austria for the land sections of the pipeline.