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South Stream may be launched 4 months earlier than planned - Gazprom CEO

© RIA Novosti . Aleksey Nikolskyi / Go to the photo bankConclusion of Russian-Bulgarian agreements
Conclusion of Russian-Bulgarian agreements - Sputnik International
South Stream pipeline may be put into operation in August 2015, four months earlier than planned, Russia's gas giant CEO said on Saturday.

South Stream pipeline may be put  into operation in August 2015, four months earlier than planned, Russia's gas giant CEO said on Saturday.

Gazprom signed a deal with Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH) on establishing a South Stream Bulgaria AD joint venture to oversee the construction of the Bulgarian section of the South Stream pipeline.

The deal was signed by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his Bulgarian counterpart Boiko Borisov.

"We are moving at a very good pace with the Bulgarian partners. Now we're joking that if we keep this pace up, the pipeline may be launched four month earlier instead of the planned December 31 [in 2015]," Alexei Miller said.

Miller also said that Romania would have no chance of replacing Bulgaria in South Stream, but the country could join the project as one of the members.

In June, Gazprom was mulling over replacing Bulgaria with Romania in the South Stream project since Borisov had announced that the country would not move ahead with the Russian-Bulgarian energy projects - Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline and a nuclear power plant in Belene - stating they are "economically unprofitable and unreasonable."

"We are preparing a feasibility study of the project with Bulgaria, we have already signed an intergovernmental agreement on the implementation of the project, while we do not have one with Romania," Miller said.

Miller said that Gazprom was making calculations on the costs of Romania's possible participation in South Stream.

Gazprom is ready to front money to South Stream Bulgaria AD for the construction work on the Bulgarian part of the pipeline, Miller said.

The board of directors of the new joint venture will include two people from Russia and three from Bulgaria, Gazprom's CEO said.

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 for launch in December 2015.

SOFIA, November 13 (RIA Novosti) 

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