2 Dec 2009 14:56

Russia could face problems with Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline project

MOSCOW. Dec 2 (Interfax) - Problems could arise with the construction of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline, which will link Bulgaria's Black Sea coast with Greece's Aegean Sea coast, bypassing the congested Bosphorus and Dardanelles, Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said in the State Duma.

"I think we'll have problems because Bulgaria is insisting that the project be made more environmentally efficient," he said.

Shmatko added that Bulgarian authorities also had questions regarding the project's economic model. "The leadership believe that the model itself is not to Bulgaria's advantage in the tally of dividends," he stressed.

He said that a meeting of a Russian-Bulgarian intergovernmental commission would take place on December 10-11. "Regarding other projects of Russian companies in Bulgaria, such as South Stream and the Belene Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), the Energy Ministry does not see any problems with their implementation," Shmatko stressed.

Regarding South Stream, the process is "now proceeding at the corporate level," Shmatko said.

"The German partner in the construction of Belene NPP has left the project but we will find a way of speeding up its implementation," Shmatko said, adding that the construction of the plant needed some "clarity".

Belene NPP (with two turbines with one gigawatt of capacity each) is being developed by Russia's Atomstroyexport. Germany's RWE, which had been in the running for 49% of the NPP's capital in exchange for investment, informed Bulgaria that it would not be participating in the project.