Alexey Miller, Chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee, said here on Monday that Russia would finance the whole construction of South Stream gas pipeline on Bulgarian territory.
"Russia is ready to finance the construction of the whole pipeline on Bulgarian territory, and for that purpose we have provided 3.1 billion euros (4.0 billion U.S. dollars)," Miller told reporters after meeting with Bulgarian Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski and Minister of Economy and Energy Dragomir Stoynev.
Bulgaria would not take any risks related to South Stream construction because it would pay its contribution with gas transit fees in the future, Miller said.
The first gas would come in Bulgaria in December 2015, he added.
"South Stream will be financed on a project basis, there will be no government guarantees and Bulgarian taxpayers' money will not be spent," Stoynev confirmed.
He said preparations for the start of construction should be accelerated. The prime minister has assigned additional tasks at administrative level, as this year the final assessment of the environmental impact and the final engineering design should be prepared, Stoynev said.
South Stream, a pipeline transporting Russian gas to Southern and Central Europe bypassing Ukraine, will be laid across the bottom of the Black Sea from the compressor station "Russkaya" at the Russian coast to the coast of Bulgaria near Varna.
The project in Bulgaria, with design capacity of 63 billion cubic meters of gas per year, will have a main pipe with the length of some 540 km.