Greek premier says Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline plan to go ahead

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Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said on Monday the construction of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline project could start in six months, dropping his doubts about the project.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said on Monday the construction of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline project could start in six months, dropping his doubts about the project.

In the fall of 2009, Papandreou said on the eve of parliamentary elections that he supported the project but would seek better terms if he became premier, primarily those concerning environmental protection.

The Greek premier told RIA Novosti the necessary procedures, "including research into the impact on the environment and a transit agreement, are expected to be completed in the next six months."

"Construction should begin immediately after that," he added.

Burgas-Alexandroupolis is a project between Russia, Greece and Bulgaria to pump Russian and Caspian oil from the Bulgarian Black Sea port of Burgas to the Greek Aegean port of Alexandroupolis. The three countries signed an agreement to build the 280-km (174 mile) Trans-Balkan pipeline in 2007, following several years of talks.

Papandreou's latest statement comes as he heads to Russia on Monday for a two-day working visit to discuss issues of bilateral cooperation, including joint energy projects.

Once completed, the pipeline will pump 35 million metric tons of oil a year (257 million bbl), a volume that could eventually be increased to 50 million metric tons (368 million bbl). Under an inter-governmental agreement signed in 2007, Russia holds 51% in the project company, while Greece and Bulgaria hold 24.5% each.

 

ATHENS, February 15 (RIA Novosti)

 

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