Bulgaria says it aims to build on time its stretch of a pipeline that will bring Russian gas to Europe, despite unforeseen delays due to the COVID pandemic.

The 474-kilometer (296-mile) Bulgarian stretch of the pipeline will be ready by the end of this year, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said on Monday during a joint inspection of the construction site with visiting Serbian President Alexander Vucic.

Two pipelines called Turkstream run about 930 km (580 miles) across the Black Sea, from Russia to Turkey. The first is to supply Turkey, while the second will carry gas to customers in Europe through Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary. Each will have annual capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters of natural gas.

“We hope to meet the timeline and have it ready by year end,” Borissov told reporters.
He said the pipeline could carry not only Russian supplies but also gas from a liquefied natural gas terminal being built in northern Greece as well as gas from Azerbaijan.

“This would be a diversification not only for Bulgaria, but also for Serbia and the whole region,” he said and added that the pipeline complies fully with European Union rules.

In Bulgaria, a Saudi-Italian consortium launched construction of the country’s stretch of TurkStream last October.
Serbia has already completed construction of the pipeline along the 403-km (252-mile) stretch on its territory.