New pipeline to bring Russian oil to Mediterranean

To reduce congestion at the Bosphorus Strait, Russia, Greece and Bulgaria have agreed to build an oil pipeline that links the Bulgarian port of Burgas and the Greek port of Alexandroupolis, increasing Europe’s dependency on Russian imports.

Under discussion since 1993, the deal on the construction of the pipeline linking the Bulgarian Black Sea port of Burgas with the Greek Mediterranean port of Alexandroupolis was finally concluded between Russia, Greece and Bulgaria on 15 March 2007. 

The pipeline is expected to reduce the oil-tanker congestion at the Bosphorus and the Dardanel Straits and thus to speed up the transport of crude oil. 

“Given the increasing density of maritime traffic in the enclosed Black Sea and additional quantities of oil exported from the region, it is of utmost importance to give a higher priority to the alternative of transporting oil by pipelines,” said Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs, expressing the international concern over the threat of maritime accidents.

The pipeline is also set further to increase Europe’s energy dependency on Russia, which already supplies a third of Europe’s oil and 40% of its natural gas. 

The construction of the 280-kilometre Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline is set to start in 2008 and cost around €709 million. With regards exploitation of the pipeline, Russia holds 51% of the consortium, with Bulgaria and Greece sharing the remaining 49%. 

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