Bulgaria would like to see the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline accelerated and will provide the necessary assistance to do it, President Georgi Parvanov said on Thursday.
“We hope that South Stream and its building will be speeded up. We will provide the necessary assistance on this question,” he said through a translator in Moscow where he met Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. “We will of course (also) provide assistance for the construction of Nabucco which is a European priority,” he added.
Bulgaria was one of the countries worst hit by a dispute between Russia and Ukraine in January which disrupted supplies of Russian gas to European consumers. Bulgaria was left without gas for about two weeks because of the row.
Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom is considering a plan to add 50% to the capacity of the proposed South Stream pipeline, a potential supply route to Europe that would bypass Ukraine. The proposal, if approved, would increase capacity of the pipeline to 47 billion cubic meters (bcm) from the 31 bcm already planned.
Both Russia, which supplies a quarter of Europe's gas, and customers in Europe have expressed interest in accelerating the construction of routes that would bypass Ukraine after a row between Moscow and Kiev disrupted EU supplies for two weeks.
The South Stream natural gas pipeline, a project also involving Italian energy firm ENI SpA, would run under the Black Sea and deliver gas to southern Europe via the Balkans. European officials are backing the Nabucco pipeline, an alternative route that would bring gas from Central Asia and the Caspian to western Europe, bypassing both Russia and Ukraine. (Reuters)