Russia to suggest South Stream as continuation of its gas pipelines

Russia will suggest to the European Union that the South Stream gas pipeline be a continuation of Russian trans-border pipelines, which will prevent third parties from accessing it, Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said on Monday.

“We create large trans-border gas pipelines but can’t sign long-term contracts although the Europeans themselves are not against long-term agreements. We propose that the EU consider South Stream as a continuation of our trans-border trunk gas pipelines and ban the access of third parties to it,” Shmatko said.

He also recalled that the South Stream project will be presented in Brussels on May 25.

Russia plans to launch the $21.5 billion pipeline, which will transport up to 63 billion cubic meters of gas to Europe under the Black Sea, in 2015 to diversify its gas supplies.

The European Union’s third energy package, which came into force in EU states on March 3, orders separation of gas sales and transportation businesses and requires the provision of access for third parties to gas transportation facilities.

Russian energy giant Gazprom, which supplies Europe with a quarter of the gas it consumes and also extracts and pumps gas, strongly opposes the package saying it will deprive the gas transportation system of investment.

MOSCOW, May 23 (RIA Novosti) 

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