Serbia started receiving natural gas through Bulgaria into its section of the extension of Gazprom's Turkish Stream pipeline for gas transit to Europe dubbed Balkan Stream, after officially launching the pipeline on January 1, President Aleksandar Vucic said.
The project raised strong objections from the US, but Serbia was determined to complete it. The country will receive 13.88bn cubic metres (bcm) of gas per year through the pipeline. Customers in Bosnia & Herzegovina will also be supplied via the new pipeline, Gazprom said.
Vucic said at the opening ceremony that the price of gas at the Bulgarian border will be around $155, down from $240, which the country was paying before the launch of the pipeline. In the first two quarters of 2021, gas will be between $60 and $90 cheaper for consumers.
Bulgaria completed its section of the pipeline in November 2020, while Serbia was ready much earlier – in December 2019. Bulgaria’s government has named its section of the Turkish Stream pipeline Balkan Stream in an attempt to show it does not only plan to use the pipeline for Russian gas. That name was subsequently adopted by Serbia as well.
“TurkStream is a state-of-the-art, efficient and reliable gas pipeline that is in high demand by European consumers. The number of European countries receiving Russian gas via TurkStream has grown to six. Along with Bulgaria, Greece, North Macedonia and Romania, this opportunity is now available in Serbia and in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said Alexey Miller, chairman of Gazprom's management committee, according to a press release from the Russian gas giant.
Turkish Stream spans a 930-km route across the Black Sea. It helps to meet Turkey’s ambition of becoming a gas hub serving European markets. However, analysts have noted that Turkey will not be able to use its role as a transit state for Russian gas to Europe as leverage over Moscow because if it attempted to play politics in that way the Kremlin could simply switch gas volumes back to Ukraine.
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