Macedonia's involvement in the South Stream project through the agreement we signed in Moscow will accelerate the country's gasification, said Vice Premier and Finance Minister Zoran Stavreski on Thursday.
According to him, Macedonia signed the same agreement that Russia has concluded with the remaining ten countries involved in the project.
"The agreement stipulates Gazprom and Macedonian state-owned company Makedonski Energetski Resursi to work jointly on a technical solution over the destination of the gas pipeline branch. We expect this to be completed in the near future", Stavreski told reporters after today's signing of an agreement between the Governments of Macedonia and Germany over financial cooperation in "Programme Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energies Stage III", worth EUR 35 million.
He stressed this is an international project that also involves shareholders from several European countries, including Germany and Italy.
"This project is linked to the construction of the national gas distribution network in Macedonia. These are two different projects, but related one. The fact that South Stream is to provide additional gas quantities and a stable gas source to the Macedonian border creates the opportunity to realize the project for construction of nationwide gas distribution network, implemented through funds from the clearing debt, EBRD loan and other sources", added Stavreski.
He said the projects' implementation would bring gas to all Macedonian households and industrial capacities, thus contributing to a better price due to increased consumption.
"There is no economic development and competitiveness without energy projects and sector investments. Macedonia's South Stream involvement secures stable energy supply for the coming decades, both for industry and households", emphasized FinMin Stavreski.
He said the construction of the nationwide network would cost approximately EUR 300 million.
"US$ 75 million have been secured for the first stage, US$ 60 million of which from Russia clearing debt to Macedonia, whereas the state takes part with the remaining US$ 15 million. These funds will be used for construction of the first pipeline branch from Klecovce to Stip. We expect the offer from Russian partner Stroytransgaz in the coming weeks, followed by harmonization of conditions by the governments of Russia and Macedonia, with the agreement to be signed in the fall, followed by start of construction", underlined Stavreski.