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Giving up Burgas-Alexandropoulos oil pipeline

According to the latest news, Russian participants in the project of building the Burgas-Alexandropoulos oil pipeline (Transneft, Rosneft and Gazprom Neft) are ready to declare about suspension of its financing. Bulgarian authorities have not approved the project and oil producers do not provide guarantees of filling the pipeline.

Such developments were expected long ago because this is what both the Bulgarian and Russian sides were approaching. Back in summer 2009 Boyko Borisov became Bulgarian Prime Minister. The former karate instructor and a politician having notorious reputation of "Bulgarian Zhirinovsky" was oriented towards Brussels and Washington only. Since the very beginning of his tenure Borisov hinted Bulgaria might refuse joint projects with Russia, including the Burgas-Alexandropoulos oil pipeline.

As far as Moscow's position is concerned, being interested in promotion of South Stream over the past few years it has been making concessions to Turkey that wants to become the major hydrocarbons hub in the region managing as much oil and gas transit as possible. Trying to win Turkey's approval to lay South Stream in its exclusive economic zone in the Black Sea Russia in the end started providing assistance to Turkey's Samsun-Ceyhan oil pipeline project, which is a direct competitor of the Burgas-Alexandropoulos project. There is obviously no need to have two pipeline projects in the region where in addition there is intensive tanker traffic through the Bosporus and Dardanelles. Giving up one of the projects was just a matter of time that has finally come. 

By Stanislav Mitrakhovich, NESF leading expert

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