Macedonia, Russia sign agreement on South Stream pipeline branch.

By bne IntelliNews July 23, 2013

Macedonia and Russia have signed a cooperation agreement concerning the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline section in the Balkan country, state news agency MIA reported on July 23. The pipeline’s transit route does not pass through Macedonia but the agreement envisages there will be a pipeline leg that will reach the country.

Russia’s Gazprom has the option to choose whether the Macedonian leg will come from Bulgaria or from Serbia. Deputy PM and minister of finance Zoran Stavreski signed the document on behalf of the Macedonian side in Moscow. In May, the parties announced that the section will be operated by a company equally owned by Macedonia and Russia.

The construction of the South Stream project started in December 2012. It is intended to diversify the natural gas export routes of Gazprom and will pass under the Black Sea to Southern and Central Europe. The pipeline is expected to start operating in late 2015. It will pass through Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Slovenia and Italy, and other countries will join through different legs.

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