Thursday, January 23, 2014

Russia, EU agree to resolve disagreements over South Stream through negotiations

The inter-governmental commission will rework the agreements between Russia and six EU countries through which the pipeline will run....
BRUSSELS, January 23, 23:21 /ITAR-TASS/. The second meeting of the inter-governmental working group on the South Stream gas pipeline will be held in February, the European Commission press service said on Thursday, January 23, after the end of the first meeting between Russian Deputy Energy Minister Anatoly Yanovsky and Dominique Ristori, Head of the European Commission’s General Directorate for Energy.

The sides reaffirmed their commitment to resolving all disagreements between Russia and the EU over South Stream through negotiations, the spokesperson said but did not specify how much time this might take.

The inter-governmental commission will rework the agreements between Russia and six EU countries through which the pipeline will run - Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia, and Austria - as well Serbia, which is not an EU member. The European Commission insists that these agreements are at odds with the Third Energy Package.
However Russia says that South Stream, as a transboundary project, does not fall under the jurisdiction of the Third Energy Package. Moreover, all these agreements were signed in and after 2008 before the Third Energy Package entered into force.

A spokesperson for the European Energy Commissioner, Marlene Holzner, said in December 2013 that the start of the work to build the South Stream gas pipeline in Bulgaria and Serbia did not run counter to European anti-trust legislation all by itself, but the agreements between Russia and EU countries on its construction were not consistent with European legislation and needed correction.
She said the European Commission would not interfere in the construction of the gas pipeline but its operation would have to comply with European requirements.
Holzner also noted that the construction of the pipeline might be complicated by growing concerns among investors and a possible refusal by banks to provide loans for the project due to the risk of legal problems in the future.
She said, however, that the European Commission was ready to provide assistance to Russia and EU southern countries in correcting and finalising the South Stream agreements.
The spokesperson named three key faults in the agreements connected with the EU Third Energy Package. The main complaint concerns the EU ban on the operation of transport energy infrastructure for companies that produce energy resources. Under the agreements, the pipeline will be operated by Russia’s gas producer Gazprom.

The second problem is that the agreements do not specify the terms of access to the pipeline for companies from third countries. The third problem is the issue of transit tariffs.
Holzner confirmed that the European Commission had sent a message to Russia on December 2, in which it recommended revising these agreements. If the agreements are not revised, the European Commission will advise EU southern countries not to use them.
Unlike Nord Stream, which runs entirely along the seabed and thus does not fall under European legislation, South Stream will be built across the Black Sea to South and Central European countries to diversify gas supplies to Europe and reduce the dependence on transit countries.
To build the onshore sections of the pipeline, Gazprom has signed agreements with Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Greece, Slovenia, Croatia, and Austria...........

1 comment:

  1. Moscow concerned by EU demand to bring South Stream agreements in line with Third Energy Package - Lavrov....

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has expressed concern over statements by European Union representatives that inter-governmental agreements between Russia and South Stream project participants should be brought in line with the requirements of the Third Energy Package.

    "We are bewildered and concerned by Brussels' statements about the need to review the intergovernmental agreements between Russia and the countries participating in the South Stream project, including Serbia, with the aim to bring them in line with the provisions of the EU Third Energy Package," Lavrov said in an interview with the Serbian newspaper Politika, a transcript of which was posted on the Russian Foreign Ministry's website on Monday.

    "Obviously, the EU laws must not be applied retrospectively and obstruct the performance of the bilateral agreements reached earlier," the minister said................


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