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Sofia denies South Stream fee claims

Oct. 3, 2012 at 7:20 AM

SOFIA, Bulgaria, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- The Bulgarian minister of economy challenged claims on the South Stream natural gas pipeline by saying transit fees would be secured.

Russia aims to diversify its natural gas export routes to Europe through South Stream, which would move gas through the Turkish waters of the Black Sea to southern European markets.

Bulgarian media reports this week said Sofia wasn't expected to invest in the construction of its leg of the natural gas pipeline but would sacrifice 15 years worth of transit fees in exchange. Minister of Economy Delyan Dobrev was quoted by the Sofia News Agency as saying that wasn't the case, however.

"This project will be financed with attracted funds," he said. "The attracted funds will be paid by transit fees."

South Stream could carry about 2.2 trillion cubic feet of gas per year when it goes into service in 2015. Bulgaria and Russia signed preliminary deals on the project in 2010. Bulgaria last year received more than 95 billion cubic feet of natural gas from Russian energy company Gazprom.

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