In the presence of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his Bulgarian counterpart Boyko Borissov, Bulgaria and Russia signed on Saturday in Sofia for the South Stream gas pipeline agreement. The agreement provides for the
creation of a joint Russian-Bulgarian company to build and then manage the Bulgarian section of the pipeline. The company will be owned equally by the Russian company Gazprom and the Bulgarian Energy Holding BEH, with the possibility that the latter should be replaced by another Bulgarian company. The pipeline, expected to be inaugurated in 2015, will have a total capacity of 63 billion cubic meters of gas per year. The pipeline is to leave the territory of Russia, across the Black Sea and out on its west coast.
In a press conference after signing the agreement, Putin noted that South Stream is a crucial project for Europe. «Our partners from Western Europe have shown interest in this project; leading Italian and French companies have already joined it. Gazprom and Bulgarian Energy Holding have embarked on a feasibility study for the Bulgarian section of South Stream. Today they have made a very important step in implementing this bilateral agreement – they have signed the charter and the shareholders agreement for their joint venture». Also he said that in the last 9 months of this year trade between Russia and Bulgaria grew by 50 percent and about building a nuclear plant at Belene. (Full Russian Prime Minister’s speach can be read here). Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov also hailed South Stream as “a true European project” adding that all agreements signed Saturday were reviewed in advance with EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger.
The talks regarding the Romanian section of South Stream would be completed by December 2010.