South Stream Bulgaria, the joint venture that was meant to build the cancelled gas pipeline’s stretch on Bulgarian soil, remains operational and busy at work, one of the company’s top executives said on January 23.
Dimitar Gogov, one of two co-executive directors of South Stream Bulgaria, told public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television that the company was still forging ahead with the preparatory work needed to receive a construction permit.
“Practically we are not building anything because actual construction never started, but we are carrying out work that will lead to getting a final construction permit,” he said. “Even though the project has been halted at political level, there are ongoing processes that cannot be stopped,” such as acquiring servient rights for the pipeline to cross the territory of 37 Bulgarian municipalities, Gogov said.
Gogov’s statement was somewhat surprising because it suggested that the preparatory work concerned the onshore stretch of the pipeline, whereas earlier statements by Bulgarian officials appeared to focus on the offshore section in Bulgaria’s territorial waters.
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(South Stream official welding ceremony in Bulgaria in 2013. Photo: gazprom.ru)