South Stream in Serbia "in collision with EU rules"

BELGRADE -- The agreement to build South Stream in Serbia is in collision with EU rules in many points, said the deputy director of the Energy Community Secretariat.

A worker prepares to weld the first section of the South Stream pipeline in Anapa, Russia (Beta/AP, file)
A worker prepares to weld the first section of the South Stream pipeline in Anapa, Russia (Beta/AP, file)

"The way in which the interstate agreement between Serbia and Russia is currently made is not in accordance with the rules of the Energy Community," Dirk Buschle told the Beta news agency.

Buschle, who was Belgrade for a conference dedicate to promotion of investment in energy infrastructure in Serbia, organized by the Associated European Energy Consultants (AEEC), added that if new energy infrastructure such as South Stream is being built, "it must ensure that a third party can benefit from it."

"It is possible to ask for an exception, but it is necessary to start the procedure that was never initiated either by Gazprom or Srbjagas, or any of the companies involved in the South Stream project," he said.

Buschle said that pipeline "is not in line with EU rules since a third party has no right to use its capacity, and because there is no separation of transit of supply activities."

The construction of the South Stream arm in Serbia should begin on November 24. The value of the pipelines in Serbia is estimated at EUR 1.9 billion.

It will be carried out by the Swiss-based joint venture South Stream Serbia, where Serbia's public enterprise Srbijagas has a 49 percent stake, and Russia's Gazprom 51 percent.