The Energy Community regrets the fact that there has been no progress in talks with Serbia on key issues related to the construction of infrastructure connecting the country with the TurkStream natural gas pipeline, Radio Free Europe reported quoting an official of that European Union regulatory body.
“Unfortunately, there has been no progress. The most recent meeting with Serbian and (the state-owned) Srbijagas company officials was in Belgrade in April when we discussed the fact that the Serbian gas sector had not been brought in line with Energy Community regulations and drew up an action plan to resolve the issue of separating transport and distribution in Srbijagas. Unfortunately, that plan was not implemented,” the head of the Energy Community Secretariat Gas Unit chief Predrag Grujicic told RFE.
The Serbian section of the pipeline is being built by the Russian-Serbian company Gastrans which is jointly owned by Srbijagas with a 49 percent share and the Russian Gazprom with a 51 percent share. That Serbian part of the project has caused concern in the Energy Community because it is not in line with EU regulations. Serbia has requested an exemption from the EU whose regulations prevent any company from owning both the natural gas and the pipeline as Gazprom does. The Energy Community published a positive opinion on the project on February 1, 2019 but said competition must be allowed which means that the pipeline should be used to transport gas from other places, not only Russia and called for the restructuring of the state-owned Srbijagas which has not been done to date.
The RFE recalled that the Energy Community has been warning for years that Srbijagas and Gazprom have had a monopoly and that Serbia is dependent on Russian natural gas.