Reuters reports Slovak gas pipeline operator Eustream is proposing a new pipeline be built to carry natural gas from western Europe to the Balkans, relieving the region of its almost total dependence on Russian supply.
According to the report, its backers say, would ensure countries such as Bulgaria and Serbia can receive gas even if Russian supplies via Ukraine are disrupted. It would also remove the need for the planned South Stream pipeline across the Black Sea, which is backed by Moscow and opposed by Brussels and Washington.
The Slovak operator proposes gas be piped from western European hubs via Slovakia’s existing system into Ukraine and then into Romania and on to Bulgaria. The proposed 570-km Eastring project would have a potential capacity of up to 20 billion cubic meters per year and the ability to transport gas either from Russia to the Balkans, or from the West to the Balkans.
The pipeline would cost an estimated $US937.5 million and connect Eustream’s existing system — which has a capacity of more than 80 bcm — to Ukraine’s under-utilized Soyuz pipeline leading to the Romanian border.
Eustream’s leaders recently discussed the feasibility of the Eastring pipeline project with their counterparts from Romanian Transgaz and Bulgarian Bulgartransgaz.