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Nabucco Gas Line Tops Russian South Stream

Date: 12.06.2010

The Nabucco gas line is a long-term, prime priority for Bulgaria while the Russian South Stream still raises many questions, Deputy Foreign Minister, Marin Raykov, says.

Raykov spoke Saturday during the conference titled: “Bulgaria and Europe: Our Energy Security,” organized by the information office of the European Parliament in Sofia.

Raykov failed to define the exact issues with South Stream, only saying some of them involve foreign policies over political change in the Ukraine and agreements now reached between Kiev and Moscow.

According to the Deputy Foreign Minister, Nabucco is an innovative project that can serve as a model for multiple public-private partnership in the trans-border transportation of natural gas.

“Bulgaria will work with its European partners so that by the end of the year we can conclude all procedures needed before construction can begin,” Raykov said, but added that the government also sees a solution for the strategic tasks for diversification and integration of European markets in the future realization of the south corridor, and for this reason wishes a new take on “South Stream” by European institutions.

“Deepening ties between Bulgaria’s energy policy and the European one is the trade mark of the current cabinet and tops the country’s agenda. We are working on restructuring our energy sector in order to achieve energy independence and efficiency,” Raykov pointed out.

Only a day ago, at a meeting with EU Ambassadors to Bulgaria, Bulgaria’s Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, made headlines when he said Bulgaria is pulling out of the project. His statement was swiftly followed by an official press release of the cabinet, explaining the government will, after all, wait for the official environmental assessment, followed again by new comments on the part of the PM, forecasting a negative assessment. Economy Minister, Traicho Traikov, at first appeared stunned by Borisov’s words, and declared the issue has not been discussed and the cabinet had not made an official decision on the oil line.

The statements stirred a flurry of articles in the Russian press with some reporting that not only had Bulgaria stricken 2 of the 3 major Russian energy projects in the country, but its attitude towards South Stream is, at best, lukewarm.

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