10/07/2008, 00.00
Send to a friend

Two-year delay in opening of South Stream gas pipeline from Russia to Italy

The opening is planned for 2015, while estimated costs are rising, which could make Gazprom back out. Experts: the purposes are in part political, in order to bypass Ukraine and weaken the European project for the Nabucco gas pipeline from the Caspian Sea to Austria.

Moscow (AsiaNews/Agencies) - The South Stream gas pipeline from Russia to Italy will be delayed for at least two years. Many experts comment that the growing cost of the project could cause a "rethinking" by Russian company Gazprom. According to the Russian financial newspaper Vedomosti, state-owned Gazprom, a leader in the energy sector, expects the pipeline to be operating by 2015. This is a significant delay with respect to the forecast by Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller, who just a few months ago said that construction would be completed in 2013.

The project, headed by Gazprom and by Italy's Eni, among others, is intended to transport 31 billion cubic meters (mmc) per year, passing under the Black Sea and through Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, and Serbia into Italy. But the cost of the operation has increased to 14.7 billion euros, and is expected to rise by even more.

Experts comment that this gas pipeline could free Moscow from the ones passing through Ukraine and Turkey, especially after the 2007 disputes with Kiev. But the Druzhba gas pipeline, which passes through Ukraine, carries 130 mmc of gas per year, four times the capacity of the South Stream, making the new pipeline apparently insufficient for bypassing Ukraine. Thanks to its position, Ukraine pays Gazprom 179.5 dollars for every thousand cubic meters of gas, while Europe pays 4,000-5,000 dollars. But many maintain that it is preferable to renegotiate the price with Ukraine, rather than face the cost of the South Stream pipeline.

The project is also politically motivated. Moscow wants to weaken the Nabucco project, intended to bring energy from central Asia, from Baku in Azerbaijan to Austria. But there is also the Russian-German North Stream project for a gas pipeline on the bed of the Baltic Sea, crossing Poland and the Baltic states.

Send to a friend
Printable version
See also
Nabucco or South Stream, the battle over energy transit to Europe is on
Tensions between Seoul and Pyongyang rise as Cold War fears cast a shadow over Korea
12/02/2016 15:14
Thousands of factories closing in the Pearl River delta
Middle East, North Korea, Iran focus of G8 starting tomorrow in Russia
Lee Myung-bak okays Obama-Kim Jong-il summit


Subscribe to Asia News updates or change your preferences

Subscribe now
“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”