After the newly developed situation with the construction of the pipeline South Stream, which was to supply the gas system in Macedonia, experts’ opinions are divided. According to some, Macedonia has enough gas for the next five or six years, and there are alternatives, while, according to others, it is a problem which the Government should seriously consider.

– Macedonia won’t have any problems in the next five or six years. We use about 20 percent from the existing gas we now get, and it can be increased to 50 percent for three or four years. Alternatives do exist, there is the pipeline TAP (Trans Adriatic Pipeline), which is projected to run 25 kilometers from the border between Macedonia and Greece and to which we could join – says Professor Konstantin Dimitrov, who is also President of the Center for Energy Efficiency.

On the other hand, adds Dimitrov, South Stream is not canceled, but will be built in Turkey and the pipe will come to the border between Turkey and Greece.

– With the permission of Greece, it is possible to build a pipeline which will pass through its territory to Italy, which would be the southern branch of the so-called South Stream, which was not as important put as the northern branch, which was to pass through Bulgaria and Serbia. In a situation that can be described as “wishful thinking,” this branch could pass through Macedonia and Serbia to Hungary and Austria, but if such plan is to be announced, Macedonia and Serbia would face an enormous pressure from the EU – stated the professor.

Systems for gas liquefaction, which are considered by governments in Albania and Greece, i.e. the construction of such systems in Durrës and Thessaloniki, from where, the gas would be transported in tankers, are alternative as well. This option is also possible with the pipeline which Gazprom will now build in Turkey to the border of Greece, where a liquefaction system would be installed, a possibility announced by the Russian President Vladimir Putin during his visit to Turkey a few days ago.

According to retired professor Tome Boshevski, the Government is the one to be searching for solutions for the gas supply to the country.

– It is a problem that is not solved and it is the job of the Government to solve it. The current situation is not good for the entire Balkans, even for Southeast Europe. I hope that the Government will consider this issue more seriously than ever – says Boshevski.

At the request of META for a comment regarding the situation with South Stream, representatives of the state owned joint-stock company Macedonian Energy Resources quoted the statement given yesterday by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Zoran Stavreski, in which he said that the future of the project South Stream is in the hands of Russia and the European Union and Macedonia cannot affect this issue.

– We can monitor the situation and we are working, worked and will be working on finding alternative solutions. We believe that there are such and, in the foreseeable future, the Government will inform on the progress on finding alternatives, i.e. finding other sources and approaches to gas supply for Macedonia – said Stavreski.