"Russia ready to finance gas pipeline through Serbia"

BELGRADE -- Russia is ready to fully finance the section of the South Stream gas pipeline through Serbia, a Serbian government minister has said.

(Tanjug, file)
(Tanjug, file)

In addition, the Russian partners have accepted the proposal on the extension of the section through Serbia i.e. construction of a southern leg of the pipeline, Serbian Minister of Natural Resources, Mining and Spatial Planning Milan Bačević told Tanjug.

Bačević said that he was assured by the Gazprom Board of Directors that Serbia should not worry about the expenses of the South Stream construction since it has been mostly agreed how Russia can help Serbia not to incur further debts.

The Russian side has once again confirmed that it is ready to fully finance the South Stream section through Serbia, and the Serbian side will pay all the costs amounting to 49 percent of the value of the project from the transit fees once the pipeline starts to work, said Bačević who is on a few-day visit to Russia.

“This is very acceptable for us, and we have confirmed that we are ready for such a form of cooperation,” the minister said after a meeting the Gazprom Board of Directors headed by Alexey Miller, which was also attended by representatives of NIS and Srbijagas.

Bačević said that the Russian side has fully agreed with the Serbian proposal on the construction of the southern leg of the South Stream, which would part from the projected route and stretch from Paracin towards Kosovo-Metohija, Macedonia and Montenegro.

The Russian partners expressed readiness to confer with the Macedonian and the Montenegrin governments on the issue, he said.

Bačević said that the competent Serbian ministry should draft spatial plans for the southern section of the South Stream, and after that Macedonia and Montenegro should also draft such plans for their sections of the gas pipeline.

The Serbian minister, who attended the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg that brought together 5,000 leading politicians, economists and businessmen from around the world, also met with Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak.

“I conferred with the Russian energy minister on few other energy projects which could be realized in Serbia, and which would contribute to the economic recovery of our country,” he said.

Russia is interested in oil shales in Aleksinac, and it would like to gain certain rights to research oil and gas in Serbia and to invest in coal mines and construction of thermo-electric power plants, which would enable Serbia to become one of the greatest exporters of electricity in the region, Bačević said.