The Bulgarian section of the TurkStream natural gas pipeline from Russia, known as Balkan Stream, is set to be completed by the end of the year, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.

The news that the construction of the gas pipeline is proceeding on schedule comes shortly after Washington updated the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). The move paved the way to impose secondary sanctions on companies involved in Russian energy projects – Nord Stream 2 and the second line of TurkStream natural gas pipelines – both of which are under construction.

“Construction of the second branch of TurkStream on the territory of Bulgaria is going as planned and, according to our partners, will be completed by January 1 2021. [Bulgarian] Prime Minister Boyko Borissov keeps the project’s progress under personal control, regularly inspecting construction sites,” the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Fourth European Department, Yuri Pilipson, told RIA Novosti.

The first part of the TurkStream pipeline has been pumping Russian gas to Turkey since its launch in January. The second part of the route, going through Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary, to deliver gas to the European consumers, was not spared from the threat of US sanctions. 

However, Sofia says that Washington’s restrictions will have no impact on the Balkan Stream, as the project, implemented by its operator Bulgartransgaz, meets all the EU rules. Thus the US has no grounds to impose sanctions on the pipeline, Bulgaria’s Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova told a local TV channel. 

Bulgaria, which is already receiving gas from TurkStream, is currently building its part of the pipeline to carry Russian blue fuel from Turkey further into Serbia and Hungary. Belgrade earlier said it has long been ready to receive Russian gas imports after completing its section of the pipeline, but is still waiting for Bulgaria to finish theirs.

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