Skopje 14th March 2015 (MIA) – Today, in Klecovce village, near Kumanovo, construction of the national gas pipeline section Klecovce – Block Station 5, part of the Project for Construction of the National Gas Pipeline System in Macedonia, commenced.  First part of the gas pipeline, 61 km long, will be built by the Russian Company “StroyTrans Gas”. Investment is US$ 75.7 million worth, EUR 60 million out of which were provided by repaying the clearing debt.  

Government’s plan and commitment is for gasification of the cities to start next year, and for the construction of the gas network throughout the whole territory of the country to be completed by 2022.

The launch event was attended by Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, Deputy Prime Minister Zoran Stavreski, Minister of Transport Mile Janakieski, Directors of “Macedonian Energy Resources” and “Sroytransgas”, Krste Miladinov and Oleg Sirgeyev, as well as the Ambassador of the Russian Federation Oleg Shcherbak.

Gas pipeline construction, according to the Government representatives is of great significance for Macedonia, providing for the gas to be available to both citizens and the companies on the entire territory. What was being discussed and promised for many years has become a reality today, Gruevski underlined.  During the past years, as he stressed, we put maximum efforts so as to launch the gas pipeline construction.

This section is first to be built since it will provide for further expansion of the entire gas network throughout the country.  According to the plans, all larger places will be connected, by which the gas will be available everywhere across the country.  The following sections, which are planned to be built, are from Stip to Kavadarci, through Prilep to Bitola and Ohrid, from Stip to Radovis-Strumica-Gevgelija up to the border with Greece, from Strumica through Novo Selo up to the border with Bulgaria, from Skopje-Tetovo-Gostivar through Kicevo-Struga up to Kafasan and the border with Albania, Gruevski pointed out.  

By constructing the gas pipeline, as he stressed, Macedonia gets access to strategic resources due to which the benefit is multiple. What is most important is that citizens will benefit therefrom. Possibility to use gas in the households will mean lower electricity and heating bills, thus having direct effects on the budget of citizens.  The economy will also benefit therefrom. Usage of cheaper energy source will mean larger profit for companies, boosted competitiveness of the domestic product, better conditions for doing business, all this contributing to the creation of jobs in the country, Gruevski said.  

The use of gas will also have positive effects on the electricity generation by the state power stations. Their modernization and adaptation will mean reduction of costs for production and improvement of the eco aspects as regards their operations. Thus, Macedonia will obtain cheaper and environment- friendly alternative to the fuel oil and the similar energy sources used at present, Gruevski said.

Capital investments such as construction of gas pipeline, highways, railways, airports, TIDZ, new factories, hydro power plants, schools, boulevards, sports halls… according to Gruevski, are large projects and evident deeds, being a result of the Government’s commitment and hard work.    

The route of the new gas pipeline from Klecovce, according to the Project, should be connected with the existing gas pipeline Kriva Palanka—Skopje.  Than, it will pass towards Sveti Nikole, which will be circumvented, and it is envisaged to be connected therewith, as well as with Veles, by a leg.  The gas pipeline will than pass near the industrial zone in Stip.  As for the other part of the route up to Negotino and Kavadarci, additional funds should be provided.  Except for Stip, the other cities such as Kavadarci, Prilep, Bitola, Tetovo and Gostivar should be also connected with the gas pipeline.  It is also envisaged for the gas pipeline to be connected with the Thermal Power Plant “Negotino”, which will replace the fuel oil with gas.

Construction of the national gas pipeline is the first stage of Macedonia’s Gasification Project. The second phase is construction of distribution network, which should bring the gas to the municipalities. The procedure for Skopje region is in its final stage, and I expect for the company that will build the distribution gas network across Skopje, to be selected as soon as possible. There is also ongoing procedure for selection of a company that will build the secondary network in the other regions of the country as well, Prime Minister Gruevski said.

The process for commencing the realization of this Project, as Deputy Prime Minister Stavresku stressed, was not neither easy nor short bur rather hard and full of many challenges. However, this makes the pleasure even greater, thus making this event more significant, Stavreski said, pointing out that it took a lot of manpower to realize the Project.   During the project realization, we were very criticized and listened to many insults, some of them perhaps deserved, but of most of them unsubstantiated, anyway, all this helped us and gave us confidence and strength that we are on the right track.   

The promise given in the government program, as Minister Janakieski said, has started to be realized today, the ultimate goal of which is gasification of the entire country. During the past several years, we invested a lot of effort so as to be able to launch the gasification of our country today.  We are also working hard as regards the secondary gas network. If everything goes as planned and if we receive appropriate offers, we plan to launch the gasification of the cities in 2016, and to complete the construction of the gas network throughout the whole territory of Macedonia by 2012, Janakieski said.  

The realization of this Project, according to the Director of the JSC Macedonia Energy Resources, opens new era in the energy sector and it will provide for better quality of living for every citizen. It will undoubtedly bring many benefits, such as  lower bills for the households. The natural gas as competitive energy source is a benefit for the overall economy since it will provide for stability in the energy supply in the country, environment protection, thus driving the construction sector. This will provide for creation of jobs when constructing the national gas pipelines and distribution networks, as well as new jobs necessary for their exploitation and maintenance, Miladinov said.

According to the Director of “StroyTrans Gas”, construction of the first section of the gas pipeline will be part of a huge project for construction of gas network in the Republic of Macedonia. This Project will provide for supplying every household with energy, thus citizens will be provided with better living conditions, Sirgeyev said, adding that this will contribute to development and enhancement of the economic, business and political relations between Macedonia and Russia.

Russian Ambassador to Macedonia Shcherbak said that successful completion of the Project will play very significant role in the further social and economic promotion of the Republic of Macedonia, resolving the environmental and other problems. This, as he underlined, will give additional stimulus to both the increase of its energy, industrial and investment potential and fruitful and useful mutual cooperation among Russian and Macedonian companies.

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