In 2009, the governments of Serbia and Slovakia signed an agreement on the cooperation between companies of the two countries in the development of the gas infrastructure in Serbia. This also provided for the construction of a gas storage depot with a capacity of 500 million m3, and a 100 km long gas pipeline network in South Serbia. The total value of the investment is estimated to be EUR 50.5 million.
The construction of the Serbian part of the “South Stream” gas pipeline which would transport Russian natural gas to the Black Sea to Bulgaria and further still to Italy and Austria. The Serbian leg would run from Zaječar to Belgrade and from there to Subotica. From Subotica one branch runs to Austria ending at the Baumgarten gas hub, while the other branch continues through Hungary and Slovenia to Arnoldstein in Austria near the Italian border to supply northern Italy. The first agreement between Russia and Serbia was signed even before the announcement of the South Stream project. On 20 December 2006, “Gazprom” and “Srbijagas” agreed to conduct a study on the construction of a gas pipeline running from Bulgaria to Serbia. On 25 January 2008, Russia and Serbia signed an agreement to route a northern pipe from the South Stream through Serbia which would create a joint company to build the Serbian section of the pipeline and a large gas storage facility near Banatski Dvor in Serbia. On 15 May 2009, in Sochi (Russia), the gas companies of Russia, Italy, Bulgaria, Serbia and Greece signed an agreement on the construction of the South Stream pipeline. As per the earlier 2008 agreement, on 17 November 2009, Russia’s “Gazprom” and Serbia’s “Srbijagas” created the company South Stream Serbia AG in Bern, Switzerland. The joint engineering company was set up to prepare a feasibility study for the Serbian section of project. If an agreement on investment is reached, the new joint venture will also be responsible for the design, financing and the subsequent construction and operation of the pipeline in Serbia. The project is due to be completed by 2015.
“Srbijagas” is close to the finalization of the first phase of the natural gas storage Banatski Dvor, which is expected to be finalized by the end of January 2010. The investment made in the completion of the first phase (which should allow the storage of some 300 million m3 of natural gas) amounts to some EUR 25 million. “Srbijagas and Gazprom” signed an agreement on the establishment of a joint company which should finalize the second phase of the construction of Banatski Dvor, where “Srbijagas” holds a 49% share and “Gazprom” has a 51% shareholding. The capacity of Banatski Dvor after the finalization of the phase two of the construction is projected to be 8,000 million m3.