Russia is to cut spending but is not withdrawing from the trans-Balkan Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline project, oil pipeline monopoly Transneft spokesman Igor Dyomin said on Wednesday.
"We do not intend to dissolve the project operator, we will work on cutting expenses," Dyomin told journalists, adding that Russia planned to reduce staff and remuneration of the project operator.
Earlier on Wednesday, Russian business daily Vedomosti said that Russia was withdrawing from the project, quoting sources close to the board of the project operator.
The 300-kilometer pipeline, planned to link the Black Sea port of Burgas to Alexandroupolis on the Aegean Sea, is designed to transport 35 million tons of oil a year, with a possible expansion to 50 million tons, to ease the tanker traffic burden in the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles straits.
Bulgaria has threatened to abandon the project over environmental risks. Around half of the pipeline is planned to run through Bulgarian territory.
Dyomin confirmed that Bulgaria had still did financed the project, while the other partner, Greece, had also stopped payments.
Vedomosti said the Russian companies are likely to focus on development of the Samsun-Ceyhan pipeline linking Turkey's Black Sea port of Samsun and the Mediterranean terminal in Ceyhan.
The Samsun-Ceyhan pipeline is designed to carry 60-70 million tons of oil per year. Transneft has said the cost of oil supply via the pipeline may be three times higher than tanker transportation through the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles straits.
MOSCOW, February 16 (RIA Novosti)