Russia to suspend gas exports to SEE via Ukraine in 2020

Russia plans to suspend natural gas exports to Southeast Europe through the Trans-Balkan Corridor crossing Ukraine, Moldova, Romania and Bulgaria next year, the Russian ambassador to Serbia, Aleksandr Chepurin, has said.

"In 2020, gas supplies through the Trans-Balkan Corridor through Ukraine will stop. At the same time, both sections of the Turkish Stream will be put into operation," Chepurin said in his Twitter profile.

As a result of the change, Serbia will receive gas at a favourable price, as it is doing now, but will also receive impressive revenues from transit fees, Chepurin said.

The Trans-Balkan Corridor starting in Russia crosses Ukraine, Moldova, Romania and Bulgaria before reaching Greece and North Macedonia.

Landlocked Serbia imports 82% of the gas it needs from Russia through a pipeline crossing Hungary and Ukraine. The rest comes from domestic sources.

Russia's Gazprom has sent an official letter to the Bulgarian government, in which it announced the company's intentions to suspend natural gas exports through the Trans-Balkan Corridor next year, Bulgarian media quoted the country's energy minister Temenuzhka Petkova as saying earlier this week.

As a result of the suspension Bulgaria may lose an annual revenue of $110 million (97.1 million euro) from transit fees, Petkova was quoted as saying. Bulgaria's contract with Gazprom for the import and transit of Russian gas through the Trans-Balkan Corridor on its territory will expire in 2030.

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Gazprom plans to build a section of its Turkish Stream pipeline for transit of natural gas to Europe from Turkey via Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary. The offshore section of Turkish Stream pipeline, stretching 930 km across the Black Sea from Russia to Turkey, consists of two parallel strings with annual throughput capacity of 15.75 billion cubic metres of gas each. One string is intended for consumers in Turkey, while the second is planned to carry gas to customers in Europe. The future section of the transit pipeline on the territory of Serbia, approximately 400 km in length, will link the Serbian natural gas transmission system to those of Bulgaria and Hungary.

Serbia's Gastrans, a subsidiary of Swiss-based South Stream Serbia, said earlier this month that it has invited binding bids for booking of capacity for transit of natural gas via the planned section of the Turkish Stream pipeline in the country that will connect Bulgaria and Hungary. The total volume of available annual capacity is 395.2 GWh/day at the link with Bulgaria, 124.2 GWh/day at exit points in Serbia and 271.02 GWh/day at the interconnection with Hungary, Gastrans said.