Russia needs guarantees from the European Commission before choosing Bulgaria as a route for the TurkStream natural gas pipeline project, the country's prime minister told his Bulgarian counterpart on Monday.
"I hope we will be able to talk about further concrete steps [for the continuation of the TurkStream pipeline through Bulgarian territory] after the corresponding guarantees are issued," Russian news agency TASS cited Dmitry Medvedev as telling reporters after meeting with Boyko Borisov in Sofia.
"I mean not from the Bulgarian government, but when the European Commission provides reliable guarantees that this project will not collapse in the future and will not face any obstacles," he said, according to the agency.
The TurkStream pipeline, which will carry Russian gas, will have a total throughput capacity of 31.5 billion cubic meters and consist of two lines. The first line, which will serve Turkey, will have a capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters. The second line, which will have the same capacity, will provide gas to Europe via Turkey.
The first line, comprising a 69-kilometer (43-mile) land section, is expected to be completed late this year, with first gas expected to flow shortly after.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced TurkStream in 2014 after dropping the South Stream gas project.
Russia sought alternative routes for gas deliveries to bypass Ukraine, and out of this the TurkStream project evolved, opening up a new transit route for Russian gas and helping to meet Turkey's increasing gas demand.
Reporting by Ihvan Radoykov in Sofia
Writing by Nilay Kar