South Stream pipeline will be built: Executive
BRUSSELS - Reuters
The South Stream pipeline project is to be built by the end of 2015, an executive says. AP photoThe giant South Stream pipeline to transport natural gas from Russia to the European Union is a reality and is on schedule to be built by the end of 2015, the chief executive of the offshore section of the line said, rebutting widespread doubts that it will ever be built.
Viewed as Russia’s response to EU attempts to find alternative suppliers, the $39 billion link will stretch more than 2,000 kilometres through the Black Sea and Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and Slovenia to northeast Italy. Many analysts and some diplomats have questioned the economic viability of the pipeline. In addition to the huge price tag, it faces the technical challenge of running 900 kilometres beneath the sea and going as deep as 2,000 metres. Shareholders in South Stream are the Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom, French utility EDF, German firm Wintershall, and Italian group Eni.
The link is viewed as a rival to Nabucco West and TAP, two pipeline projects vying to ship gas from Azerbaijan’s huge Shaz Deniz gas field. By the end of June, the Shaz Deniz operators are expected to select Nabucco or TAP to ship gas from the second phase of Shah Deniz, which is expected to begin production in 2018 or 2019 and rise to 16 billion cubic metres (bcm) per year: 10 bcm earmarked for Europe and 6 bcm for Turkey.