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Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline in danger?

Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline in danger?

SOFIA, Bulgaria, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- The Bulgarian government has no confirmation that Russia is backing away from the planned Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline, a finance official said.

Bulgaria in 2007 signed an agreement with Russia and Greece to build the 174-mile Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline to bypass crowded waterways near Turkey by crossing an overland route to the Aegean Sea.

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Both sides have balked on the measure, with Sofia complaining about the economic benefits of the project and Moscow saying delays from Bulgaria have left the project "practically suspended."

Russian companies Gazprom Neft, Rosneft and Transneft were tasked with overseeing part of the project were expected to announce a decision to terminate funding for the project, Russian news agency ITAR-Tass reported.

But Bulgarian Finance Minister Simeon Djankov was quoted by the Sofia News Agency as saying that may be a negotiation tactic.

"These moves are common for the Russians -- this is a way to tell us they are not pleased with the way the project is progressing," he said.

Transneft officials brushed off the matter, saying the concern is related to overdue payments by Bulgaria and Greece.

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