Russia's Stroytransgaz announced yesterday that it will build a gas pipeline across (FYR) Macedonia, which could eventually be used as part of a route to supply Europe with Russian gas via Turkey.
A spokesman for Stroytransgaz said the sanctions would not hamper the project in Macedonia, which is not a member of the European Union.
The 96.6 km (60 miles) Negotino-Klecovce gas pipeline will cross Macedonia from near the Greek border in the south up to the vicinity of the Serbian border in the north. Stroytransgaz will build 61 km of the link by June 2016.
Moscow plans to build a subsea pipeline to Turkey, a replacement for the cancelled South Stream project via Bulgaria. The details of an onward route from Turkey through Greece have not been finalised.
Stroytransgaz, which was scheduled to participate in the construction of the Bulgarian section of the South Stream gas pipeline, will construct the new pipeline in Macedonia, preserving some of the planned South Stream course.
The Klechovtse-Negotino pipeline will cost about US$75 million and is intended to eventually connect the Balkan countries with the pipeline through Turkey that has replaced South Stream.
Macedonia will invest US$15 million in the project; the remaining US$60 million will be deducted from the debt owed by the former Soviet Union to the former Yugoslavia, as calculated under the Skopje agreements.
Edited from various sources by Elizabeth Corner
Sources: Reuters, Balkans Business News