Bulgaria balks on oil pipeline

June 23, 2011 at 5:55 AM
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SOFIA, Bulgaria, June 23 (UPI) -- The Bulgarian Environment Ministry said it returned an environmental assessment report on an oil pipeline from Greece, which caused a two-month delay.

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.

Bulgarian Environment Minister Nona Karadzhova said the ministry returned a report from project company Trans-Balkan Pipeline for a second time this year, the Sofia News Agency reports.

The ministry returned the company's environmental report because it wasn't satisfied with details surrounding how to unload oil at Bulgarian ports, the news agency adds. The pipeline company has two months to address the complaints.

Moscow in April said Sofia needs to make a decision on the pipeline as soon as possible.

Bulgarian officials countered that they intended to honor their commitments but were examining the environmental impact of the proposed pipeline.

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."

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