South Stream in Bulgaria On Hold (Again)
Operations of the Bulgarian section of the South Stream gas pipeline have been suspended to a second time.
A notice posted to the webiste of the Bulgaria’s Ministry of Economy and Energy read that Interim Minister Vasil Shtonov had instructed the South Stream Bulgarian partner, Bulgarian Energy Holding, to suspension of all actions while the project does not meet the legal requirements of the European Commission.
The first halt in activities came earlier this summer following a Bulgarian official meeting with a delegation composed by three US Senators, John McCain, Ron Johnson and Christopher Murphy.
The meeting came after a public statement on the 6th of June by American Ambassador in Sofia Marcie Ries, warning that Bulgarian companies participating in South Stream maybe part of US sanctions against them due to their collaboration with Russia’s engineering construction company Stroytransgaz.
Stroytransgaz is controlled by Volga Group, a investment vehicle linked to Gennady Timchenko who was sanctioned by the US Treasury following the Russian takeover of Crimea in February 2014.
In May, a consortium comprised of Stroytransgaz and Bulgaria’s Gasproekt Jug was awarded the contract to built the Bulgarian section of the South Stream project. Earlier this month Stroytransgaz withdrew from the construction project.