MOSCOW, August 19 (RIA Novosti) - Bulgaria’s Minister of Economy and Energy Vasil Shtonov has ordered Bulgaria’s Energy Holding to halt any operations on the South Stream gas pipeline project, according to the official statement.
The operations were suspended as they do not meet the requirements of the European Commission, Bulgaria’s Ministry of Economy and Energy said on its website on Monday.
The South Stream pipeline, expected to carry Russian gas across the Black Sea to Southern and Central European countries, is aimed at diversifying export routes for Russian gas.
The project stalled when the European Commission expressed concern that Russia’s bilateral agreements with European transit countries, namely Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary and Slovenia, violate the EU Third Energy Package. According to these legislative proposals, the pipelines in the EU cannot belong to the natural gas extractors.
South Stream construction began in late 2012, with the first deliveries expected in 2016. The pipeline is to become fully operational in 2018.