In January this year, the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, promised that Serbia would be connected to the TurkStream gas pipeline “in May or September” this year.
May has passed, September has come, and the promise is still far from being fulfilled. In the meantime, the new deadline is December, while experts say that, although it is likely that the construction works will be completed by then, for political reasons, it is still not possible to guarantee that Russian gas will actually flow the gas pipeline in the spring.
The TurkStream’s segment in Bulgaria, as originally planned, was supposed to be completed by June 1, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, that did not happen. Now, the experts have no dilemma that the gas pipeline through Bulgaria can be built by the end of the year, but are also sceptical whether politics will stand in the way of transporting gas from Russia via this gas pipeline.
Vojislav Vuletić, Secretary-General of the Gas Association of Serbia, says that there will be no new delay in the completion of the TurkStream gas pipeline through Bulgaria, that is, that there are no real obstacles to finishing the Bulgarian leg of the pipeline.
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“The delay in the construction occurred first because there was a court dispute over which company will build the section through Bulgaria, and then because of the coronavirus pandemic. I expect that the gas pipeline through Bulgaria will be built by the end of the year. After that is done, it is realistic to expect that the first quantities of Russian gas will flow to Serbia through Bulgaria in the spring,” our interlocutor states.
Energy expert Goran Radosavljevic also believes that there are no obstacles to building the Bulgarian leg of the TurkStream gas pipeline by the end of the year.
“The epidemiological situation in the Balkans is now such that it should not be a problem to finish constructing the Bulgarian segment. That can be realized as planned, i.e. by the end of the year. Whether Russian gas will flow from Bulgaria to Serbia next year will depend on several factors. The first is whether there will be enough demand for gas in Europe. The second is whether the economic situation will be such that the demand for energy will prevail on the market, and the third is whether the political factor will interfere in the realization of this project,” states Radosavljević.
Radosavljevic adds that Washington’s efforts are currently focused on stopping the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, but as the US presidential election approaches, it is possible that a campaign will be launched at the same time with allies in the European Union to prevent the construction of the TurkStream in Europe.
Serbia completed its segment of the TurkStream gas pipeline in December last year. The TurkStream has a planned capacity of 15.75 billion cubic metres of gas per year, and it would be further transported from Serbia to Hungary and Croatia. This project would be lucrative for Serbia because it would provide it with sufficient quantities of natural gas, it is an alternative supply route, but it will also generate income from the transit tax.
This post is also available in: Italiano