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Serbia left out of EU pipeline plans?

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World Pipelines,

Serbia could lose European Union (EU) funding for a major pipeline project if it fails to reform indebted gas company Srbijagas by July 2016, according to reports.

Serbia has been under pressure to liberalise its gas and power markets on the road to EU membership.

The country had planned to separate the transport and supply arms of the state-owned utility by the end of June, turning it into a holding company incorporating the two units. There has been little progress on this front.

Srbijagas has for years avoided being broken up due to fears among company executives and their political overseers about losing market monopoly.

Serbia faces sanctions including the withholding of €50 million of EU funds allocated for a gas pipeline link between Serbia and Bulgaria.

The gas pipeline with Bulgaria is crucial for Serbia's aim to diversify its gas supplies and reduce dependency on Russian gas, which accounts for more than 80% of its needs.

It would also make it possible for Serbia to receive gas from the Trans-Adriatic Gas Pipeline (TAP) and the Trans-Anatolian Gas Pipeline (TANAP), as well as from the liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Alexandroupolis, Greece, which will be connected to TAP.

Edited from various sources by Elizabeth Corner

Sources: ReutersB92

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