Accessibility links

Breaking News

South Stream Construction In Serbia Begins

Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) discussed South Stream with his Serbian counterpart, Tomislav Nikolic, in Moscow last month.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) discussed South Stream with his Serbian counterpart, Tomislav Nikolic, in Moscow last month.
Construction has begun on the Serbian section of Russia's South Stream natural-gas pipeline.

Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic, Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic, and Gazprom CEO Aleksei Miller participated in the launch ceremony on November 24.

Nikolic said the project will boost Serbia's energy security.

"From today, we are connected by new energy, which has already connected Russia with the most powerful partners in Europe," Nikolic said. "Russian gas is the realization of Serbia's energy dream, supply without uncertainty."

Dacic emphasized the project's potential benefits to the Serbian economy.

"South Stream is the biggest investment in Serbia for decades," he said. "The value of the work will be, just in Serbia, around 2 billion euros. We estimate that between 2,000 and 3,000 workers will be engaged in the works. And great economic benefit is expected after the end of works -- may be 100 million euros per year from transit taxes."

Serbia and Gazprom signed the deal in October 2012 to build the 421-kilometer stretch of the pipeline through Serbia at a cost of 1.9 billion euros.

Gas is expected to flow in early 2016. It will have an annual capacity of 63 billion cubic meters.

Gazprom is financing the project initially, and Serbia will pay its share from its transit fees.

In his comments at the launch ceremony, Miller said the project is a landmark in bilateral relations.

"South Stream is a new, strong, page in Russian-Serbian cooperation, Russian-Serbian friendship," he said. "The Serbian part of South Stream is crucial for this project."

Ultimately, the pipeline will run from Russia, across the Black Sea, through Bulgaria, Serbia, and Hungary and then into Western Europe.

READ NEXT: At 20, Russia's Gazprom Struggles To Stay Dominant

It will enable Russia to sell gas to the European Union without transiting Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a message saying the project would reduce "the risks of transit by third parties" and "help consolidate international energy security."

(Based on reporting by AFP, Reuters, and Interfax)

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

If you are in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine and hold a Russian passport or are a stateless person residing permanently in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine, please note that you could face fines or imprisonment for sharing, liking, commenting on, or saving our content, or for contacting us.

To find out more, click here.