Macedonia Signs Up to South Stream Pipeline

Macedonia has now joined the Russian-led South Stream gas pipeline project, the Vice Prime Minister Zoran Stavreski said in Russia, confirming that Russia and Gazprom, the company in charge of the project, have now given the green light.”There’s no more dilemma – Macedonia is joining the international gas pipeline corridor South Stream,” Stavreski said on Tuesday in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, where a session of the Mixed Macedonian-Russian Business Commission was held.

Stavreski said that Macedonia had now received from Russia and Gazprom the draft-agreement that envisages building one leg of the pipeline in Macedonia.Construction of the pipeline is expected to kick off in late 2012 and should be completed by late 2015. It is yet to be determined when the Macedonian section will be built.

Macedonia hopes that in the months to harmonize details of draft with Russia. After that, following the example of the other seven countries that are part of the project, a mixed company will be formed to work on construction of the pipeline in Macedonia.

The South Stream pipeline will transport Russian natural gas through the Black Sea to Bulgaria and then further to Italy and Austria, transiting several Balkan countries on its way. The project is scheduled for completion in 2015.

The Russian pipeline is seen as rival to the Nabucco project, planned by the European Union and the United States as a way of reducing European energy dependence on Russia.

Macedonia hopes that the pipeline will solve its growing energy needs and provide cheaper power alternatives for both industry and households.

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