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    Joint energy projects advantageous for Russia, Greece - minister

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    Joint energy projects are advantageous for Russia and Greece, Russian Industry and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko said on Sunday.

    ATHENS, December 16 (RIA Novosti) - Joint energy projects are advantageous for Russia and Greece, Russian Industry and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko said on Sunday.

    In an interview with the Greek newspaper Katimerini published on Sunday, Khristenko said the projects to build the trans-Balkan Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline and the South Stream gas pipeline under the Black Sea held good prospects for both countries.

    Khristenko's comments were published on the eve of the official visit by Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis to Moscow on December 17-19. The talks are expected to focus on the Trans-Balkan and South Stream energy projects.

    "I believe there are no principal obstacles on the way of building the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline. The project has clearly-expressed economic rationale and meets the requirements of European countries in line with their long-term demand for oil," Khristenko said.

    The Russian minister also said the South Stream was an important transport project for countries in Southern and Central Europe implementing their strategy to diversify gas flows.

    The deal to build the Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline was signed on March 15 with Greece and Bulgaria to carry Russian oil via the Bulgarian Black Sea port of Burgas and Greece's Alexandroupolis on the Aegean.

    The 280-kilometer (175-mile) pipeline will pump 35 million metric tons of oil a year (257.25 million bbl), a volume that could eventually be increased to 50 million metric tons (367.5 million bbl). Earlier reports said the pipeline could be commissioned in late 2010 or early 2011.

    The South Stream gas pipeline is set to cover over 900 km (560 miles) under the Black Sea and deliver 30 billion cubic meters of gas annually via Bulgaria to Austria, Slovenia and Italy.

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