“Serbia is currently doing everything possible to reduce its dependence on Russia and obtain new gas suppliers,” says the Deputy Prime Minister of the Serbian Government and Minister of Energy, Zorana Mihajlović.
In a statement to Austrian journalists, Minister Mihajlovic said that Serbia ‘is currently 100 per cent dependent on Russian gas and has an agreement stipulating more than two billion cubic metres, but needs 3.5 billion cubic metres by the end of the heating season. That is why Serbia has leased a gas storage facility with a capacity of 500 million cubic metres”.
She also reminded that the country has 49 per cent ownership of the storage while 51 per cent is owned by Gazprom and that there are 280 million cubic metres of gas in that storage. “We will give two billion euros for gas, although up to four billion euros may be needed for gas and electricity,” Mihajlovic warns.
She also said that Serbia did not impose sanctions on Russia even though it agreed with the declaration at the UN. According to her, the main problem is that there is no diversification with regard to gas supply, which puts any energy minister in an awkward situation.
Mihajlović reiterated that the first steps have already been taken to make Serbia more independent from Russia. With the support of the EU, a gas pipeline to Azerbaijan is being built and, by September next year, up to 40 per cent of gas from outside Russia should reach the country via this pipeline.
“In two years’ time, the pipeline to North Macedonia, which will have an annual capacity of up to one billion cubic metres, will be completed, which is also being built with EU support, and another pipeline is planned to Romania,” the Serbian Energy Minister said and added that ‘a connection to the LPG terminal in Croatia, currently under construction, is planned and similarly Serbia should get a connection to the terminal in Albania, which should have a capacity of five billion cubic metres per year.
“It is not easy, but we have a plan,” Mihajlovic said, emphasising that ‘a change is also needed in the supply of electricity because currently, around 70 per cent of electricity production falls on old coal-fired power stations’. “This is where we need to switch to sustainable energy production,” Mihajlovic concludes.
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