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Serbian minister: steps have already been taken to reduce dependency on Russian gas

The construction of the gas interconnection Nis-Dimitrovgrad is a strategic project that will grant gas supply security to Serbia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Mining and Energy, Zorana Mihajlović told reporters in Nis, where she visited the distribution dispatch centre of Serbia’s Elektrodistribucija Srbije (EDS).

Serbia kicked off the construction of a link to Bulgaria’s gas transmission system in February. Once ready, it will allow for the transfer of up to 1.8 billion cubic metres (bcm) of natural gas annually from Bulgaria to Serbia and 0.15 bcm from Serbia to Bulgaria, contributing this way to the diversification of supply routes and sources of natural gas to the entire region.

“For us, this gas interconnection is one of the most important projects that we have started and which will be completed in September next year,” said the Serbian minister adding that already in October gas could flow through the pipeline most likely from Azerbaijan.

Serbia is now entirely dependent on Russian gas, its 10-year gas supply contract with Russia’s Gazprom expired in May and Belgrade secured a new three-year gas supply contract for 2.2 bcm of gas per year with Russia. Serbia started negotiations with Azerbaijan this summer on natural gas deliveries starting next year, in a bid to diversify its suppliers.

The minister rejected the criticism that the dependence of the country on Russian gas remained the same. She also highlighted the importance of regional connectivity adding that Serbia has already taken important steps to become more independent from Russia.

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