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Russia says Balkan pipeline deal to be signed by year's end

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Russia, Greece and Bulgaria will sign an agreement by the end of the year on a new pipeline to export Russian oil, Russian Deputy Energy Minister Andrei Dementiev said in an e-mail yesterday. The pipeline from the Bulgarian city of Burgas to the Greek port of Alexandroupolis will top the agenda when Russian President Vladimir Putin meets Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis in Athens on Sept. 4. Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev is also expected to attend the meeting. The 285-kilometer (177-mile) link will cost an estimated € 700 million ($900 million) and will enable tankers carrying Russian crude from the Black Sea to avoid Turkey's crowded Bosporus and Dardanelles straits. The expected capacity is 35 million tons per year. (Bloomberg)

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