Bajatovic: Nothing is holding back South Stream project

BELGRADE - There are no misunderstandings between the Serbian and Russian partners regarding the South Stream gas pipeline project nor is the project being held back by problems in funding and provision of guarantees for loans, Dusan Bajatovic, director general of state-owned natural gas provider Srbijagas, said Thursday.

Speaking at a Russian-Serbian round table on energy in Belgrade on Thursday, Bajatovic said that he expects appropriate solutions regarding a loan agreement for the project to be found next week, adding that the agreement will be signed soon.

This, he said, has also been confirmed by First Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic.

Bajatovic said that the technical part of the tender for contractors in the construction of the section of South Stream through Serbia has been completed and the contractors will be chosen by the end of April.

This will create the conditions for the works to commence immediately after that, he added.

He pointed out that there have been neither significant delays nor holding back the South Stream project, but rather only a small deviation from the original plan of procedures, as it is vital to negotiate the financial part of the loan agreement carefully.

Bajatovic said that the Serbian government has done everything to put this project to implementation. He pointed out that the loan, which Gazprom offered Srbijagas, amounts to about EUR 270 million, and is favorable given a fixed annual interest rate of 4.25 percent and a repayment period of 15 years.

Gazprom has not demanded a state guarantee for this loan, Bajatovic said, adding that the original intention of Srbijagas to ask for a EUR 75 million loan as its incorporation stake in South Stream...

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