Burgas pipeline deal is reached

SOFIA (AFP) – Bulgaria, Greece and Russia are to hold equal shares in a company building a pipeline to transport Russian oil from the Black Sea to the Aegean, Bulgaria’s Regional Development Ministry said yesterday. Greece’s insistence that Bulgaria hold a smaller share prevented the three countries signing an agreement in Athens on April 6. But on Tuesday, Greece wrote to the Bulgarian government agreeing to the scheme, according to Deputy Minister for Regional Development Hassan Hassan. The three countries plan to transport Russian oil extracted in the Caspian Sea across the Black Sea from the Russian port of Novorossisk to Bulgaria’s Burgas port, then by pipeline for 320 kilometers (198 miles) to Alexandroupolis. The pipeline is to have a capacity of 35 million metric tons (38.5 short tons) per year. Building is to start in 2003 and end in 2007, and the project will cost some 600-700 million euros ($545-636 million).