Bulgaria to pull out of Russia-Greece oil pipeline

7th December 2011, Comments 0 comments

Bulgaria's government said on Wednesday it was pulling out of a planned oil pipeline project with Greece and Russia, which has been stalled for two years.

"Bulgaria suggests cancelling the project on a mutual agreement. Otherwise, it will back out unilaterally in 12 months," Finance Minister Simeon Djankov said.

He added that Sofia will pay the 12 million leva (6.1 million euros, $8.2 million) it owed since 2009 to the company founded to construct the pipeline -- Transbalkan Pipeline -- which is jointly owned by Russia, with a 51-percent share, and Bulgaria and Greece, with equal shares.

The 280-kilometre (174-mile) pipeline, which would have allowed Russia to transport oil to Europe while bypassing the busy Bosphorus strait, was to run overland between the Bulgarian Black Sea port of Burgas and Alexandroupolis on the Aegean Sea in Greece.

But despite pressure from its partners, Bulgaria has repeatedly expressed reservations about the environmental impact of the project because it would pass through nature reserves.

© 2011 AFP

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