Greece reiterates support for Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline
Construction of an oil pipeline linking Burgas, on Bulgaria's Black Sea coast, with Alexandroupolis in extreme northeast Greece, is "a project of national importance," Development Minister Kostis Hatzidakis reiterated here on Thursday, Xinhua reported.
Speaking to reporters after a meeting with the chairman of the Russian oil company Transneft, Nikolai Tokarev, to discuss progress in the pipeline project, the Greek minister stressed that Athens' will was to complete the project as soon as possible. He said he believed that the same volition prevails on the Russian and Bulgarian sides as well.
Hatzidakis said the project could begin in 2010, adhering to timetables set for construction.
Moreover, he said the Greek government will table a draft bill to Parliament by the end of June to sort out any problems related with the construction of the oil pipeline, and stressed that " construction of more pipelines contributed to the energy safety of Europe and Greece and to better services to consumers".
Tokarev said he was completely satisfied with the support offered by the Greek Development Ministry and Greek companies participating in the project, and noted that ILF, a German firm, would soon complete its technical and financial survey for the pipeline project.
Tokarev said the Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline would not compete with any other project and that the aim was to strengthen the security and independence of consumers. The agreement to build the 280-kilometer pipeline transporting Russian oil to Greek port Alexandroupolis via Bulgaria's Burgas port was signed on March 15, 2007 in Athens. Russian then President Vladimir Putin, Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev attended the ceremony.
The pipeline project is planned to pump 35 million tons of crude oil a year at the beginning, with potential to rise to 50 million tons per year. Russian firms will control a 51 percent stake in the venture, including infrastructure like pumping stations, storage facilities, while Bulgaria and Greece will share the rest of 49 percent stake.