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Serbia set to transit Russian gas via TurkStream

Serbia received its first shipment of gas from the TurkStream pipeline project which was built to carry Russian gas flows to Turkey and Central Europe. As the first project of 2021, the 403-kilometre Serbian section was commissioned in a ceremony in Gospodjinci in the municipality of Northern Zabalj.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić praised the opening of the Balkan Stream gas pipeline as a key for Serbia’s future development that would enable the country’s energy stability and security.

President Vučić underlined that the new gas pipeline is of crucial importance for attracting new investors and therefore Serbia’s further development.

“Serbia, with the support of Russian partners, has managed to secure supplying its territory with gas and although there is still work to be done, this pipeline guarantees us a more certain future,” President Vučić added.

He revealed that Serbia would receive gas through the pipeline at a price of up to 155 US dollars per cubic metre, with much lower transport costs than before. Also, Serbia will charge a transit tax, which will help pay for the pipeline’s construction.

Dusan Bajatovic, the CEO of Serbian natural gas company Srbijagas said later in an interview that without the new pipeline Serbia normally would have to pay 240 US dollars for 1000 cubic metres of gas, compared to 155 US dollars, which is the price of gas on the Serbian-Bulgarian border.

Mr Bajatovic added that Serbia plans to carry out large-scale gasification in the following years that is expected to bring significant savings and reduction of pollution. In accordance, President Vučić announced that the government will soon propose a significant reduction in the price of gas connections for households in Serbia.

Russian Ambassador, Bocan Kharchenko, who also attended the commissioning of the new pipeline said that the Balkan Stream is the best New Year’s gift.

The Ambassador pointed out that the new gas pipeline will provide security and stability to Serbia as well as for Central Europe while creating additional opportunities for Serbia to become a transit country for gas and an attractive country for new investments.

The 930-kilometre-long TurkStream pipeline will carry Russian gas under the Black Sea through Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary, with another section reaching Turkey. Each of the countries who are involved in the project is responsible for their own extension of the pipeline. As the Serbian section of the pipeline has been completed an annual 13.8 billion cubic metres of gas from the Turkish Stream gas pipeline are to flow through the territory of Serbia towards Hungary.

The Hungarian government announced that the first flows of gas through TurkStream could start from late 2021 or early 2022, potentially bringing an annual 6 bcm gas across the Serbian border.

In an earlier interview, Dr Erich Jurdik, Deputy CEO of construction of TurkStream told CEENERGYNEWS that TurkStream is now fully operational and ready to increase gas shipments to Turkey and countries in South-Eastern Europe.

Russian energy giant Gazprom announced on the first day of the year that it started delivering natural gas to Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina through the TurkStream pipeline.

“The number of European countries receiving Russian gas via TurkStream has grown to six: along with Bulgaria, Greece, North Macedonia and Romania, this opportunity is now available in Serbia and in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said Alexey Miller, Chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee.

Photo: Presidency of Serbia/Dimitrije Goll

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