Strategic Pipelines Set to Change Geopolitical and Demand Supply Paradigm in the Global Oil and Gas Industry
- Published: February 2012
- Region: Global
The implications of the cancellation earlier in December of Russia's planned South Stream gas pipeline are less for Macedonia than for other participating states in the region, because the country was due to receive only a spur pipeline, not to host part of the main route; and the spur was to be built as part of a development project for the domestic gas network that is proceeding in any case, backed by the Macedonian government, and with Russia's involvement coming about as a means of debt settlement. Greece is promoting the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), including an interconnector to Macedonia, as a non-Russian alternative to South Stream, but geography and regional politics mean that if interconnectors were built to Macedonia from any of the potential major regional gas pipeline projects, it would probably be a terminus, not a transit country-depriving it of potential transit fees, and any significant role in broader regional gas supply plans.
Under a long-hatched July 2013 agreement between Russia and Macedonia, the Russian state-owned gas monopoly, Gazprom, was due to construct an interconnector to Macedonia from the planned South Stream gas pipeline, which Russia announced earlier in December would no longer go ahead. South Stream was intended to enable the transmission of Russian gas to southern and central Europe while bypassing Ukraine, via a route under the Black Sea to Bulgaria and onwards to central Europe via Serbia and Hungary. The interconnector to Macedonia would probably have run south from the Serbian section of the main pipeline.
In comparison with Bulgaria and Serbia, the Macedonian government has made a low-key response to South Stream's cancellation, stating that the fate of the pipeline rests with the EU and Russia.
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