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Putin says Russia cannot currently build South Stream pipeline

01 December 2014, 23:34 CET
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Putin says Russia cannot currently build South Stream pipeline

Photo South Stream

(ANKARA) - Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday said Russia could not currently continue with the construction of the South Stream pipeline to deliver gas to Europe after Bulgaria blocked construction under the sea.

"Taking account of the fact that until now we have not received permission from Bulgaria, we believe that in the current conditions Russia cannot continue with the realisation of this project," Putin said at a news conference alongside Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara.

Putin also announced that Russia had agreed to increase gas exports to Turkey by 3 billion cubic metres and that gas prices for Turkey would be cut by six percent.

The Kremlin had been pushing the South Stream project as a way to ensure Russia's gas reaches Europe, avoiding pipelines that run through conflict-torn Ukraine.

"Don't you understand that it is ridiculous for us to put hundreds of millions of dollars into a project to go through all the Black Sea and then come to the surface before the Bulgarian shore?" Putin asked.

He slammed the European Commission, saying it had encourages Bulgaria to block the project.

"We believe that the position of the European Commission is not constructive. In fact rather than helping the project, the European Commission is creating an obstacle."

"If Europe does not want the pipeline to be realised then that means that it will not be realised," said Putin, adding that Russia could look to deliver gas to other markets including LNG (liquefied natural gas) to Asia.

He warned that Russia could now lower gas volumes delivered to Europe.

"We will orientate our energy resources to other regions of the world," he said. "And Europe will not receive those volumes (that it had) from Russia."

"But that is the choice of our European friends."

The pipeline was to flow underneath Turkey's waters in the Black Sea and through the Balkans, crossing Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and Slovenia and then Austria to connect with the main European pipeline network.

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