MOSCOW Aug 4 Russia's Stroytransgaz, a company
owned by sanctions-hit businessman Gennady Timchenko, has left
the construction of the Bulgarian section of the South Stream
gas pipeline, Timchenko told ITAR-TASS news agency in an
"Yes, we won the tender, wanted to make our contribution to
the common goal. But you see, (U.S. Senator) Mr (John) McCain
went to Bulgaria and persuaded local authorities to waive our
services," Timchenko said.
He added that Stroytransgaz will be replaced by Gazprom's
"Of course, from the business point of view, losing South
Stream is an unpleasant thing for us. But whom I should make
claims to? To Americans?" Timchenko said.
South Stream is designed to transport 63 billion cubic
metres of gas per year under the Black Sea through Bulgaria to
central and southern Europe, bypassing Ukraine, as Russia seeks
to cement its position as Europe's dominant gas supplier.
($1 = 0.7452 Euros)
A consortium led by Russia's Stroytransgaz won a deal,
estimated at over 3 billion euros ($4 billion), to build the
section of the pipeline across Bulgaria, in May.
The Bulgarian-Russian project company for South Stream was
not immediately available for comment.
In June, the European Commission asked Bulgaria to suspend
work on Gazprom -led South Stream gas pipeline on the
grounds the project was breaking EU rules that bans gas
producers from controlling pipelines.
Bulgaria's president is to appoint an interim government to
rule until Oct. 5 when elections will be held, after the
Socialist-led coalition resigned in late July.
The centre-right GERB party, tipped to win, has said
Bulgaria should push ahead with South Stream only if it complies
with all European Union laws.
GERB's leader Boiko Borisov has said he plans to scrap the
tender awarded to Stroytransgaz if he wins.
Timchenko was among many individuals and firms put by the
West on sanctions lists due to Russia's stance over Ukraine.
(Reporting by Katya Golubkova; additional reporting by
Tsvetelia Tsolova in Sofia, editing by William Hardy)