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At any price: Russia is embarking on the construction of South Stream. OSW Commentary No. 98, 2012-12-07

Kardas, Szymon and Paszyc, Ewa (2012) At any price: Russia is embarking on the construction of South Stream. OSW Commentary No. 98, 2012-12-07. [Policy Paper]

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    Gazprom is determined to continue its efforts to build the South Stream gas pipeline regardless of the slump on the European gas market and the fact that there is sufficient capacity already in the existing transport infrastructure. The official inauguration of the maritime section of South Stream was held on 7 December this year, but the construction itself will commence in 2014. The agreements concluded so far, both intergovernmental and between corporations, are necessary for the launch of the construction of the new pipeline, but still do not guarantee that the project will be completed on time. First of all, some legal problems have yet to be resolved, such as the evaluation of the compliance of the planned actions with the ‘third energy package’ or the fact that ecological surveys required under European law need to be carried out. Secondly, given the present situation on the European gas market and medium-term forecasts, the high cost of implementation of this project and the maintenance expenses of existing pipelines – which are not being used to full capacity – the new project seems to be unfeasible. However, Gazprom’s determination in its efforts to build the pipeline proves that Russia is ready to take a high economic risk to maintain its dominant position on the European gas supply market; it will restrict the possibilities of alternative infrastructural projects being implemented (above all, the EU’s Southern Corridor) and use the construction of new pipelines as an instrument of political pressure on the present transit countries (especially Ukraine).

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    Item Type: Policy Paper
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > energy policy (Including international arena)
    Countries > Russia
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW) > OSW Commentary
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2014 14:40
    Number of Pages: 10
    Last Modified: 09 Dec 2014 14:40

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