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Would “Poseidon” resurrect South Stream gas pipeline project?

БНР Новини
Photo: BGNES

These days people learned that Russia actually planned to revive the South Stream gas pipeline project that should deliver gas from Russia under the Black Sea to the shores of Bulgaria and from there to Central and Western Europe. Russian President Vladimir Putin, himself, announced on December 1, 2014 that the project was officially dead and blamed Bulgaria and Brussels for the freezing.

It seems, however, that Russian state gas giant and monopolist Gazprom has not given up completely on the idea for building a southern gas corridor, which previously looked abandoned after the failure of the Turkish Stream project, which at the backdrop of sharp confrontation between Russia and Turkey seems to have zero chances to be completed. But Russia badly needs a pipeline to southern Europe after its plans to boost gas deliveries to the northern part of the continent have met fierce opposition from a number of European countries.

At the backdrop of complicated geopolitical relations, Gazprom has signed these days a memorandum with Italian company Edison and Greek DEPA for the delivery of Russian natural gas under the Black Sea through third countries to Greece and from Greece to Italy. Russian economic observers unanimously concluded that this actually meant restoring South Stream, because in order for Russian gas to reach Greece under the Black Sea, it must first reach the Bulgarian shore and then through the newly-planned Bulgarian gas hub to reach the "Poseidon" gas pipeline. The new Russian project is important and has real chances to be implemented in accordance with the requirements of the European Union, as explicitly stated by Moscow. Evidence for this provides the fact that head of Gazprom Alexei Miller presented the project to President Vladimir Putin, who gave it a green light.

Bulgarian authorities have not yet commented on the news, but it is known that transforming this country into a kind of gas hub for Southern and Central Europe is a big priority for the government. The planned gas hub near the Black Sea shore has already been given a name – “Balkan.” Until recently no one knew very well what would this hub distribute, but now the perspective seems clearer. The silence of Bulgarian institutions at this early stage is completely understandable, given the bitter experience of the South Stream project that failed because of purely political and geostrategic reasons. The government has obviously made the right conclusion that one should not put the pan on the stove, while the fish is still in the sea. There is no doubt, however, that if "Poseidon" in combination with the South Stream 2 were implemented, they would be beneficial for this country in terms of its efforts to reduce gas dependence and would also strengthen regional positions. Actually, nobody would easily give up on the chance of receiving profits from gas transit and of gaining more influence in Europe.


English: Alexander Markov


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