MOSCOW, December 4 (Sputnik) – Russia's decision to reject the South Stream project is final, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Thursday.
"The decision that was made was, in my opinion, a final one, and we are studying another route for our pipeline," he said after the president's annual state-of-the-nation address to the Federal Assembly when asked whether Russia may review its decision.
On December 1, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia was unable to continue with the South Stream gas pipeline project under the current conditions. The president cited the European Commission's position on the project and Bulgaria's failure to grant permission to proceed with the pipeline's construction as the major reasons behind the decision.
On December 2, the marketing director of Czech gas company Vemex told Sputnik that the consequences of scrapping the South Stream gas project could be disastrous for some European states.
The construction of the South Stream was announced in 2012. The pipeline's offshore section was designed to go under the Black Sea, while its onshore stretch was to cross Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and Slovenia. South Stream was expected to be fully operational by 2018.
Brussels has repeatedly said that the project violates the European Union's Third Energy Package, according to which it is illegal to own a pipeline and produce the natural gas that flows through it at the same time. Moscow has insisted that the construction of the pipeline does not contradict the regulations.