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Trans-Balkan pipeline to pump Black Sea oil - Transneft CEO

ATHENS (Greece), March 15 (RIA Novosti) - The trans-Balkan pipeline will pump Black Sea oil, the head of Russia's state pipeline operator said Thursday.

"All players on the Black Sea oil market will use the Burgas-Alexandrupolis pipeline," Transneft CEO Semyon Vainshtok told a press conference following the signing between Russia, Greece and Bulgaria of an agreement on the construction and operation of a trans-Balkan pipeline.

However, Vainshtok said his company did not plan to invest in the project, which is worth around 1 billion euros.

"That will be handled by a consortium that will attract funds on the foreign market," he said, adding that participation in the consortium did not necessarily require investment from its members.

The businessman said that drafting a feasibility study and drawing up design and exploration procedures, as well as tenders for the construction of the Burgas-Alexandrupolis pipeline, would not take long, "much less than a year or two."

Vainshtok refused to disclose the exact cost of the project, saying that "it will be cheaper than the construction of the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline," which project operator BP said cost about $4 billion.

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