The works on the construction of the gas pipeline in Serbia from the Bulgarian to the Hungarian border, which will supply Serbia with the gas from the TurkStream pipeline, might begin between March 1 and 15, and the realistic plan is for the entire job to be done by 2020, stated Dusan Bajatovic, the director of Srbijagas.
He said for TV Prva that the project would not be financed by the state, but by companies interested in a long-term rent of the 403-km pipeline's capacities. The pipeline, Bajatovic said, is of national interest and everything is being done in line with EU regulations, that is, the Serbian Law on Energy, which integrates the Third Energy Package.
– There is no reason of economic, legal or any other nature, aside from the political, that might stop the construction of this pipeline – Bajatovic says.
He said that the Serbian Energy Agency had given a positive response to the request of the Serbian-Russian company Gastrans for the construction of the pipeline and sent all the documents to the Energy Agency, which has 60 days to answer.
– We will get an answer in January at the latest, and I believe that it will happen even sooner. I see no reason for a negative opinion to be sent, and even if the opinion is negative, it is not binding for us – Bajatovic added.
The project is worth slightly over EUR 1.8 billion, and Bajatovic says that the call for the so-called binding capacity lease will be opened in December, as this is a commercial project, unlike the Nis-Dimitrovgrad-Sofia interconnection.
He said that a call for the non-binding lease had already been opened and that certain companies which have a long-term interest for the lease for no less than 20 years had responded, among them Srbijagas, Gazprom, Met Hungary, several European companies, but also two smaller Serbian companies.
He says that the entire route of the future gas pipeline is known and that talks about the temporary expropriation for a period of one or two years are to follow.
Bajatovic adds that Serbia will save USD 45 million a year on gas transport alone, as the current transport through Hungary costs USD 60 million, whereas the transport through TurkStream shouldn't exceed USD 15 million.
He says that this might lead to a slightly lower price of gas.