Slovenia has joined the club of South European countries voicing its full support of the ambitious Gazprom’s South Stream project bringing natural gas from the Black Sea to southern Europe.
Hailed as one of the world’s most ambitious infrastructure projects of all time, the South Stream promises to secure the future energy needs of the region and provide Europe with an alternative source of natural gas to that extracted in the North Sea area.
"South Stream will extend the existing gas supply system from Russia to Europe, cut harmful emissions, thanks to gas being an environmentally friendly resource, and help lead the southern European economy out of the crisis it is currently facing,” said Alexander Syromyatin, the Deputy Head of the Project Management Department at Gazprom.
Some 165 miles of the 1,482-mile long pipeline will cross Slovenia on the way to Austria. The former Yugoslavian country believes the ambitious project will help boost its engineering sector, create jobs and help reduce energy prices. In a recent survey, 57 per cent of Slovenians said they were in favour of the construction.
"Slovenia may not have been much progress seen on the outside, though there is an enormous amount of work engaged on the inside,” said Marjan Eberlinc, the CEO of Gazprom’s local partner Plinovodi, which runs the gas transmission infrastructure in Slovenia.
“Transmission pipelines are sited in line with national spatial plans and are thus under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Spatial Planning with which we have been cooperating excellently. South Stream is on the way to its realisation in Slovenia," he said.
According to Samo Omerzel, Slovenia’s Minister of Infrastructure and Spatial Planning, the project has Slovenia’s full support. "The Slovenian political sphere wants to see this project - which will be implemented despite some skepticism-finally realised."
Since successfully completing the North Stream pipeline, Gazprom has put all its efforts into the South Stream pipeline, building on the predictions of European natural gas consumption, which is is expected to increase by 25 per cent by 2030.
Most of the natural gas needed in Europe by this time will have to be imported, promising Gazprom optimistic outlooks.
"In 2030, the North Sea will provide only half the amount of gas it produces today. South Stream will deliver up to 63 billion cubic metres of gas, which will create a secure replacement for that," said Syromyatin.