Austria remains committed to the construction of the gas pipeline South Stream, which is the subject of controversy between Brussels and Moscow after the outbreak of the Ukrainian crisis, said the country’s foreign minister and the head of the largest Austrian energy company one day before the visit in Vienna by the Russian President Vladimir Putin. We do not only need more providers, but also a greater variety of corridors which the energy can be passed to us, said Austrian Foreign Minister in Luxembourg, noting that five EU countries strongly support the construction of the pipeline.
The project to build the South Stream pipeline has undertaken a consortium formed by Gazprom with the participation of European companies, such as the Italian energy group ENI and the French EDF. The construction of the pipeline, the cost of which is estimated at 16 billion euros, was launched in 2012 and is expected to be operational from the end of 2015. This pipeline will link Russia to Bulgaria via the Black Sea bypassing Ukraine and will continue to Greece and Italy, Serbia, Hungary, Slovenia and eventually Austria. But for months the Commission deny the project and according to the same does not respect European regulations regarding energy and competitiveness.
The head of Austrian energy company OMV called for the acceleration of negotiations to approval of South Stream, saying in an interview that it is unrealistic to believe that Europe can be completely cut off from Russian energy supplies. Gerhard Royce made the remark one day before the visit of Putin in Vienna, during which the OMV and the Russian state gas company Gazprom is expected to sign an agreement for the construction of the section of South Stream will pass from Austria.
One third of our natural gas comes from Russia, in some areas even 100% and in return Europe sends cars and machinery in Russia, said Royce in an interview with the newspaper WirtschaftsBlatt. This economic integration cannot become a political football, because the economy and our prosperity is depend on it, he stressed. If we can take large amounts of gas from an area, then you should give investors the opportunity to build gas roads. The negotiations for the South Stream should be accelerated and not freeze, noted Mr Royce, admitting that the project should comply with European standards.
By Nicole P.