Croatia to join South Stream pipeline project

11:06, March 03, 2010      

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Russia and Croatia on Tuesday signed an agreement for Croatia to join South Stream, a Moscow- backed pipeline project rivaling the EU-sponsored Nabucco project.

Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko and Croatian Economy, Labor and Entrepreneurship Minister Djuro Popijac signed the agreement in the presence of Russian and Croatian Prime Ministers Vladimir Putin and Jadranka Kosor.

Putin said later in televised remarks that the South Stream project has gained broad support, which Bulgaria, Hungary, Greece, Serbia and Slovenia have already joined.

"The advantages for all the participants in this process, including Croatia, which joined it (the South Stream project) today, are obvious," Putin was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.

"Among other things, this primarily concerns stability of energy supplies to Europe and purely economic advantages for all its participants," he added.

The South Stream pipeline, to be completed in 2015, is designed to carry natural gas from Russia to Europe via the Black Sea. The pipeline is expected to carry 63 billion cubic meters of natural gas a year.

The Croatian prime minister said the agreement had made possible a 50-50 joint venture that would also supply gas to her country.

Supplies of Russian natural gas to Europe have suffered from bitter rows between Russia and Ukraine in recent years.

Russia has therefore begun to build new gas pipelines, including the South Stream project, which runs underneath the Black Sea to Bulgaria, and the Nord Stream that runs to Germany via the Baltic Sea.

Source: Xinhua
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