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32

Russia To Hold Europe Tight: New Pipeline

The pipeline will make Greece a transit hub for Russia nand strengthen its grip on the market

Russia, Greece and Bulgaria have agreed to begin construction of a long-delayed oil pipeline that will link the Black Sea to the Aegean. An official agreement on the issue will be signed by the end of the year.

The new pipeline will cut the heavy oil tanker traffic in the congested Bosphorus Straits. It is estimated that current delays caused by so many ships trying to load oil in the Bosphorus cost energy companies at least 500 million euros a year.

?Russia is one of the principal suppliers of the energy resources for the European and world markets, and Greece and Bulgaria for a long time have been our reliable partners in this field, so this partnership represents for Russia a particular interest,? President Putin said.

He added: ?Russia isn?t imposing any strict conditions for this project. We want just this kind of venture to proceed with our traditional partners.?

More than half of the 280 kilometer pipeline would pass through Bulgaria. It is projected to cost 700 million euros ($1 billion) and would have a final annual capacity of 35 million tons of oil. The pipeline will make Greece a transit hub for Russian energy exports to the West and strengthen Moscow?s grip on the market. It will run from the Bulgarian Black Sea port of Burgas to Greece?s Alexandroupolis on the Aegean.