Serbia, Russia plan -energy pact-

A Belgrade-Moscow energy agreement in the works would see Serbia included in Russia’s “South Stream” gas pipeline project and a Russian firm taking control of Serbian oil monopoly NIS, officials said on Tuesday.

Analysts said the proposed deal was politically motivated, a reward for Russian backing of Serbia’s efforts to prevent its breakaway Kosovo province from becoming independent.

“This agreement foresees construction of the transit South Stream pipeline through Serbia, construction of gas storage facilities and a strategic partnership in the modernisation of NIS,” Serbian Energy Minister Aleksandar Popovic told a joint news conference with Russia’s ambassador.

“I will forward it to the government, then a working group will work on the details. After that parliament will ratify it.”

Aleksandar Aleksejev, the Russian ambassador to Belgrade who delivered the proposal, said “everything is ready to start the implementation of the projects as soon as possible.” Russia’s Gazprom (GAZP.MM: Quote, Profile, Research), the world’s largest gas company and supplier of a quarter of Europe’s gas, has said in the past it might take part in the privatisation of NIS on condition it is allowed to expand its gas business in Serbia.

It said it wanted to build new gas storage facilities in Serbia and use its territory for the South Stream link, which will take gas from Russia to southern Europe.
Source: Reuters

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