SOUTH STREAM SERBIA: EUR 2.1 BLN
The costs of planned Gazprom-led South Stream gas pipeline in Serbia has risen with as much as 24 percent since November 2013, reaching a total of EUR 2.1 bn, Bulgarian Pressa Daily reported as citing information by Russia's Vedomosti.
Centrgaz, a Gazprom subsidiary contracted for the construction recently announced it signed a contract for EUR 2.1 bn, while Russian energy minister Alexander Novak estimated the cost of the Serbian stretch at EUR 1.7 bn in November 2013.
South Stream will be 421-km long in Serbia and major construction works are expected to start in the third quarter of 2014.
Centrgaz is also rumoured to enter the construction works of the Bulgarian stretch of South Stream, as the CEO of a contradictory tender winning company Stroytransgaz - Genadiy Timchenko – was included in the U.S. sanctions list. It is yet unclear how exactly Centrgaz could take over Stroytransgaz's role in Bulgaria without a new tender procedure, as an official contract with the latter was already signed in May.
Not unlike Bulgaria, Serbia has been subjected to EU scrutiny over alleged incompliance of the future pipeline with the EU's 3rd energy package rules for division of infrastructure ownership and supply. Despite its EU-inclusion ambitions Belgrade is keen on maintaining its strong reconomic relations with Moscow which owns a majaroty stake in Serbia's biggest oil and gas company NIS.
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