ECONOMY

Bulgaria to quit pipeline project

Bulgaria has decided to withdraw its participation in the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline project, the country?s finance minister Simeon Djankov was quoted as saying on Wednesday, formally terminating a project 15 years in the making.

Bulgaria, Greece and Russia agreed in 2007 to build the pipeline, a major energy project for Greece, after more than a decade of talks. But Bulgarian authorities proposed on Wednesday that the agreement be canceled by mutual agreement.

In February Transneft, Russia?s oil pipeline monopoly, denied reports that shareholders of the pipeline had scrapped plans to complete its construction.

The pipeline had been due to be launched this year but construction was held up. One of the delays was caused by the Bulgarian government expressing concerns about the environmental impact of the scheme, which would have led to 35 million tons of crude oil per year being pumped from the Black Sea to northeastern Greece, bypassing the Bosporus and Dardanelles Straits.

The viability of the pipeline, aimed at reducing the expense and time of transporting oil to Europe and the US, had been questioned due to doubts over its profitability.