Serbia is planning to beсome the first European country to begin constructing an onshore section of the South Stream gas pipeline, designed to transport Russian gas to western Europe, by the end of 2012, the head of the country's state-run Srbijagas company said on Saturday.
The South Stream project, in which Russia, Bulgaria and Greece are partners, stipulates the construction of a 300-kilometer pipeline from Burgas on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast to Alexandroupolis on the Greek Aegean Sea coast. The pipeline, which is considered a rival to the EU-backed Nabucco, is scheduled to be launched in December 2015.
Intergovernmental agreements have been signed between Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia and Austria for the implementation of the section of the pipeline that will run over land.
Dusan Bajatovic said "the plan will be implemented if preparatory work continues at its current pace."
The construction of the Serbian 450-kilometer section of the pipeline is estimated to cost at least 700 million euros ($913 million).
Milorad Dodik, prime minister of Bosnia's Serb Republic, said on Thursday that the republic was planning to join the South Stream project, which and consume about one billion cubic meters of gas annually.
The Serb Republic wants to build a 480-kilometer pipeline in northern Bosnia with capacity of up to 1.5 billion cubic meters and link it to the South Stream pipeline, he said.
SARAJEVO, September 18 (RIA Novosti)