Moscow, Dec 5 (GCCurrentAffairs) Construction for the TurkStream gas pipeline in Bulgarian territory was delayed because Sofia had to implement numerous procedures prescribed by the European Union, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said on Thursday, in an apparent response to Russia’s claim that the delay was deliberate.
On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Bulgaria was deliberately delaying the implementation of TurkStream in its territory, apparently because the country was pressured to do so by third parties. He added that if Bulgaria did not want to proceed with the pipeline, Russia had alternative routes for gas transit in southern Europe.
“Bulgaria follows the EU procedures. Each has a right to search alternative pathways, and we are looking for an alternative diversification,” Borissov said in a broadcast by Bulgaria’s bTV channel.
The prime minister went on to invite Putin to come and see in person how fast construction was proceeding five kilometers (3 miles) per day, according to Borissov.
“We began late because we had to go through numerous procedures. We implement the procedures, so we are certain that we would complete it [the pipeline]. And once we have such huge capacities and completed gas pipelines next year, believe me, it will be the only fast and good alternative for the Russian gas as well,” Borissov said.
TurkStream is projected to be a 570-mile twin pipeline that will transfer gas from large reserves in Russia to Turkey and further up to southern and southeastern Europe. Two offshore parallel pipelines will run from Russia through the Black Sea to Turkey, at which point one of the strings will continue further up to the Turkish-European border, bypassing unreliable transit partners. The construction should be completed by the end of this year