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Russia, Greece, Bulgaria initial Balkan pipeline project co. deal

ATHENS, January 10 (RI Novosti) - Russia, Greece and Bulgaria initialed on Thursday an agreement on establishing an international project company to build an oil pipeline across the Balkans.

Russia, Bulgaria, and Greece signed a deal on the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline to carry Russian oil via the Bulgarian Black Sea port of Burgas and Greece's Alexandroupolis on the Aegean on March 15, 2007. Once completed, the pipeline will pump 35 million metric tons of oil a year (257.25 million bbl), a volume that could eventually be increased to 50 million metric tons (367.5 million bbl).

"The agreement that has been initialed paves the way for the project's implementation, in particular, for technical surveys and the solution of financial issues related to the construction of the oil pipeline," a source close to the negotiations said.

Under previously signed inter-governmental agreements, Russia will have a 51% stake in the international project company, while Greece and Bulgaria will own 24.5% each.

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