by Irina Tsyplakova
Moscow (Voice of Russia) Nov 15, 2012
The signing of the investment agreement on the South Stream gas pipeline, set for November 9, has been put off till next week following the death of Patriarch Maxim of Bulgaria's Orthodox Church.
South Stream is a priority project for Bulgaria, aimed at diversifying routes of Russian gas exports both to Bulgaria and the EU, the country's finance minister Delyan Dobrev has said, stressing that the Bulgarian government has authorized him to "grant permission to Bulgarian Energy Holding EAD to adopt a final investment decision on the South Stream gas pipeline project."
Quite an obscure statement, same as the reason why the South Stream project has been up in the air ever since Russia and Bulgaria signed an agreement on it in 2008.
Bulgarian pundit Todor Bikov shares his take on the issue: "First of all, Bulgaria is under a strong pressure from the European Union and the United States. For instance, now they are campaigning for the use of tight shale gas. This campaign is conducted by American experts from the Sofia embassy. They are pushing this idea through, advertizing it and enlightening the public.
It's all clear enough. The United States is opposing South Stream trying to wrestle Russian gas out of the EU energy market. This has been a long-standing policy, which has brought to life the "alternative" parody pipeline project called Nabucco, aimed at compromising South Stream.
It's quite logical that our government is maneuvering to slow down the Russia-EU pipeline construction. But I feel optimistic that Russia's unfaltering stance will see the accords signed in the end, because Bulgaria depends on Russian gas and all those diversification projects can't been implemented in the short term.
I say "depends" in a positive sense. I hope they will finally strike a deal on the South Stream project next week, a mutually beneficial and constructive deal.
That's most likely because, let me repeat myself, Bulgaria and the entire Europe depend primarily on Russian energy exports. Moreover, Russia has certain moral obligations towards Bulgaria, which it should be wary of when dealing with the EU. And, by the way, EU has been taking liberties with Russia.
You mustn't set out political terms and conditions, especially non-diplomatic ones, when dealing with economic entities. I mean the continuing EU attacks on Gazprom and its attempts to curb Russia's economic ties with Europe. Your country shouldn't allow this".
Source: Voice of Russia
Energy news from Russia
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