Russians "won't determine price of gas alone"

BELGRADE -- Russian Ambassador Aleksandr Chepurin has said that Serbia and Russia are working as a team to build a section of the South Stream pipeline through Serbia.

(Tanjug, file)
(Tanjug, file)

He denied allegations that the Russian side will alone be exploiting and setting the price for the gas.

Chepurin said that the South Stream section through Serbia will not be managed only by Gazprom, but also by a Serbian enterprise, recalling that Gazprom will pay 51 percent of the construction costs, which amount to EUR 1.9 billion.

"We are speaking about 63 billion cubic meters of gas," he said, adding that the Russian side has put forward a proposal to build compressor stations and gas storage facilities.

Chepurin said it was agreed that the Russian company should pay both its part and Serbian side’s part, adding that the Serbian part will be financed from a loan and repaid from gas transits and profits of the company South Stream Serbia AG.

The loan conditions will be favorable and it will be granted under the same conditions as in Bulgaria, Chepurin said in an interview for the Belgrade-based weekly NIN.

"In the construction of the South Stream section through Serbia, Serbia and Russia are working in a partnership," he said and cited Russian President Vladimir Putin as saying that the two countries are cooperating in a friendly spirit.

"It is therefore important for us to see that there is consensus concerning South Stream in Serbian society and the media," Chepurin said.

Asked whether there was any obstruction to the construction of South Stream through Serbia, he said that every project is supported by some and opposed by someone else, but Gazprom started from knowing that it has a firm support for the project from the people and leadership of Serbia.

"Thanks to building South Stream in Serbia, in three to four years, the country will experience progress in the field of energy and play an important role in the region because of that," said the Russian ambassador.

The construction of the pipeline’s section through Serbia is due to begin on Sunday, and the Russian ambassador said that a video conference, in which will Serbian and Russian officials will take part, will be installed for the occasion.