In April 2005, the governments of Russia, Greece and Bulgaria signed a memorandum on the construction of an oil pipeline from Bulgaria's Black Sea port of Burgas to Greece's Aegean port of Alexandroupolis.
Russia's Transneft, Rosneft and Gazprom Neft will hold a joint stake of 51% in the project.
Andrei Dementyev, deputy industry and energy minister, said the remaining 49% stake in the project should be distributed among such companies as Kazakhstan's KazMunaiGaz and the shareholders of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC).
Chevron is the largest shareholder in the CPC, holding a 15% stake. The governments of Russia and Kazakhstan have 24% and 19%, respectively. Other shareholders include Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell and Russia's Lukoil.
Dementyev said a final decision must be taken by Bulgaria and Greece, adding that an inter-governmental agreement on the project will likely be signed January 1, 2007.
The $1 billion project, which will run 280 kilometers (175 miles), will allow Russia to export oil through the Black Sea directly to southeastern Europe, bypassing Turkey's crowded Bosporus Straits.
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In light of the present situation in the Middle East, Russia and Israel find themselves facing common challenges. Under these newly emerging situations, Russia sees its partnership with Israel as a potential asset in resolving acute regional issues. From a Russian perspective, the compatibility of Israeli and Russian interests could contribute to such a partnership.