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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Serbia's parliament ratifies energy deal with Russia

BELGRADE, September 9, 2008 (RIA Novosti) - Serbia's parliament ratified on Tuesday an agreement on oil and gas cooperation with Russia, including in the South Stream gas pipeline project, signed in Moscow on January 25. The agreement was backed by 214 out of 250 lawmakers. The Serbian energy minister said on Friday that the agreement would make Belgrade both a strategic partner of Russia and the EU. The deal would see Serbia become a gas transit country, pumping gas from Russia onto the Balkans as part of South Stream, a joint project to build a 400-km section of a gas pipeline through the country. On January 25, Russia and Serbia signed a deal on South Stream and a protocol on the purchase of a 51% stake in Serbia's national oil company by Gazprom Neft, the oil arm of Russian energy giant Gazprom, and the construction of an underground storage facility. The South Stream project is expected to transport 10 billion cu m of Russian gas annually across the Black Sea to the Balkans and onto other European countries, with the first deliveries scheduled to start in 2013.

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