The intergovernmental memorandum would be signed by April 15. This date is largely conditioned by the Russian party having to complete certain inter-departmental approval procedures which may last up to April 15, said G, Salagudis.
He added that the parties are interested in an early signing of the contract, and if Russia can complete the approval procedure quicker, the memorandum can also be signed at an earlier date.
The proposed new pipeline is an alternative to transporting oil via the traffic-congested Black Sea straits. According to the Greek Deputy Minister, the companies wishing to join the international consortium engaged in the construction of the pipeline will have to sign the relevant agreements wherein specific volumes of the transported oil would be indicated.
The details of the project are as follows: on the Russian side, participating in the construction of the pipeline will be such companies as TNK-BP, PIK TISE, "Stroitransgaz", "Gazprom", "Lukoil", "Rosneft" and "Transneft". The Greek partner is represented by "Helenic Petroleum", "Prometeus Gas" and "Lacis Group", and the Bulgarian side by "Universal Terminal" (Burgas).
G, Salagudis also said that Greece had already expressed its readiness to finance part of the project and allocate Euro 100 million (about $130 million). The total cost of the project is estimated at $700 million.
Crude oil from Russia and the Black Sea basin would be transported by ship from Novorossiysk to the Bulgarian port of Burgas and then via the pipeline to the Greek port of Alexandropolis, wherefrom it will go to West European countries.
The pipeline will be about 300 km-long, with 2-3 booster stations. The planned volume of oil pumping is 35 million tons annually, with a capacity for rising up to 50 million tons.